The Economics of Libido: Psychic Bisexuality, the Superego, and the Centrality of the Oedipus Complex



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This book is an attempt to get beyond pluralism by embedding psychoanalysis in philosophy and returning to Freud qua psychologist to link the depths of the mind to its surface. Beginning with the proposition that egoism and altruism are a more accurate representation of the binary of activity and passivity, The Economics of Libido revisits Freud’s work to contextualize his central concepts and expand upon them.

Egoism and altruism are further divided into masculine and feminine drives which can exist in either sex due to psychic bisexuality. Trevor Pederson’s Freud places the Oedipus complex as the height of personal happiness in striving for passionate love or success while maturing through a series of educators and mentors. The subsequent father complex is snatched from obscurity as the recreation of the parental incest taboo amongst siblings. The ideal of commitment in relationships, fairness in one’s dealings with peers, and Freud’s emphasis on the non-universality of guilt are given their proper weight in his model. However, this reading of Freud’s work also demonstrates that earlier forms of the superego exist and are depersonalized to create different ontologies, or levels of Being.

In the tradition of Kant, what seem like relations too complex for a child to understand, the author contends, are references to the necessary subjective senses of Space, Time, the Superlative, and Prestige. Lastly, Pederson offers an explication of Wittgenstein’s private language argument to justify this return to drive theory and to appreciate Freud’s ‘Copernican Revolution’ of the mind.

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