Chapter

The Im-Possibility of the Psyche

Andrea Hurst

in Derrida Vis-à-vis Lacan

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print May 2008 | ISBN: 9780823228744
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235179 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fso/9780823228744.003.0005

Series: Perspectives in Continental Philosophy

The Im-Possibility of the Psyche

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Addressing Sigmund Freud's theoretical exposition of the psychical apparatus, Jacques Derrida proposes on the one hand that Freud's theorization in both content and structure moves increasingly toward a radically aneconomic “archiwriting”, or différance, so subverting the dominant Cartesian commitment that shapes conceptions of the psyche in Western philosophies. This commitment may be understood in terms of the relation between mneme, anamnesis, and hypomnema. The “psyche proper”, divided between mneme and anamnesis, may be extended artificially by various recording and archiving machines; it may be supplemented by hypomnesic devices, or external prostheses, condensed in the figure of writing, a traditional figure of death. Derrida argues that Freud, in contrast, made it possible to think of the psyche as an active process of inscription or encryption (archivization, “psychic spacing”, or synthetic processing) that, in his words, “cannot be reduced to memory: neither to memory as conscious reserve, nor to memory as rememoration, as act of recalling”.

Keywords: Sigmund Freud; psyche; Jacques Derrida; mneme; anamnesis; hypomnema; memory; death; archivization

Chapter.  11429 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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