The Temptation of Biology: Freud's Theories of Sexuality

Author(s) : Jean Laplanche

The Temptation of Biology: Freud's Theories of Sexuality

Book Details

  • Publisher : Unconscious in Translation
  • Published : 2015
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Category :
    Psychoanalysis
  • Catalogue No : 37570
  • ISBN 13 : 9781942254010
  • ISBN 10 : 1942254016

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The Temptation of Biology is one of Laplanche’s central achievements in the latter half of his career: a major monograph on sexuality. Originally published in 1987 as Le fourvoiement biologisant de la sexualité chez Freud, republished in 1999 as La sexualité humaine and as Problématiques VII in 2006, in this volume it is followed by Laplanche’s 1997 talk at the University of Buenos Aires when he was awarded the title Doctor Honoris Causa, a paper which addresses a key aspect of the monograph: “Biologism and Biology.”

Laplanche’s work is widely recognized as offering what may be the most important – certainly the most coherent – development and correction of Freud’s theories of sexuality. Building upon the 1984 volume New Foundations for Psychoanalysis, which Laplanche called the "hinge" of his theorizing, this book examines the origins of infantile sexuality. Laplanche works to demystify and demythologize the cult of biology within the work of Freud and his successors, to develop a theory of sexuality that both challenges and restores Freud's own foundational insights. In this remarkable translation, the text remains just as clear and illuminating as the original French. It is stimulating, rigorous, and (perhaps atypical for a work of theory) a pleasure to read.

About the Author(s)

Jean Laplanche (1924 – 2012) was described by the journal Radical Philosophy as “the most original and philosophically informed psychoanalytic theorist of his day.” Studying philosophy under Hyppolite, Bachelard, and Merleau-Ponty, he became an active member of the French Resistance under the Vichy regime. Under the influence (and treatment) of Jacques Lacan, Laplanche came to earn a doctorate in medicine and was certified as a psychoanalyst. He eventually broke ties with Lacan and began regularly publishing influential contributions to psychoanalytic theory, his first volume appearing in 1961. In 1967 he published, with his colleague J.-B. Pontalis, the celebrated encyclopaedia The Language of Psychoanalysis. A member of the International Psychoanalytical Association, co-founder of the Association Psychanalytique de France, emeritus professor and founder of the Center for Psychoanalytic Research at the Université de Paris VII, and assistant professor at the Sorbonne, he also oversaw, as scientific director, the translation of Freud’s complete oeuvre into French for the Presses Universitaires de France.

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