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Thoughts and Things$
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Leo Bersani

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226206059

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226206196.001.0001

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“Ardent Masturbation” (Descartes, Freud, Proust, et al.)

“Ardent Masturbation” (Descartes, Freud, Proust, et al.)

(p.37) 3 “Ardent Masturbation” (Descartes, Freud, Proust, et al.)
Thoughts and Things

Leo Bersani

University of Chicago Press

A major current of Western thought (exemplified in such figures as Descartes, Proust, and Freud) has argued for the disjunction between the self and the world, a disjunction to which the human subject responds through epistemological appropriation and possession of otherness. Analysis of a short case study by Freud defines the goal of such appropriative activity as a masturbatory autonomy of the self. A few modern philosophers have, however, suggested alternatives to what this discussion calls a masturbatory mode of thought.

Keywords:   Descartes‘ ontology, solitariness, the causa sui project, sexual object-choices, being-with-the-world

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