Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To save articles in ePub format for your eBook reader…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

To save an article in ePub format, look for the ePub reader icon above all articles for logged in users, and click it to quickly save the article, which is automatically downloaded to your computer or device. (There may be times when due to font sizes and other original formatting, the page may overflow onto a second page.).

You can also easily save to PDF format, a journal like printed format.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Feuer, L.S. (1963). Anxiety and Philosophy: The Case of Descartes. Am. Imago, 20(4):411-449.

(1963). American Imago, 20(4):411-449

Anxiety and Philosophy: The Case of Descartes

Lewis S. Feuer

The basic problems of modern philosophy were set in the thought of Rene Descartes. Its central themes, motives and arguments were those which likewise became central in the consciousness of modern man. His philosophy sought to resolve anxieties which in large measure were representative of those which perdured in the unconscious of the seventeenth century Scientific Revolutionists. The answers which Descartes gave are a congeries of ideas which seemed to him to arrange themselves in a system. They present a unique problem for our psychoanalytical understanding. As we try to isolate those ideas the analysis of which would take us into the psychological core of Descartes’ philosophy, four principal tenets suggest themselves for study:

(1)  that animals are incapable of thinking,

(2)  that God's goodness is the guarantee that the external world exists,

(3)  that God necessarily exists,

(4)  that because I think, I am certain that I exist.

The philosophical ideas of Descartes, we shall find, issued from a deep struggle in his unconscious with the authority of a father whom he blamed for the death of his mother, and who had abandoned him during his childhood years. From his view that his father was heartless, soulless, sprang his doctrine that animals are soulless.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2020, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.