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Bienenfeld, F.R. (1957). Justice, Aggression and Eros. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 38:419-427.

(1957). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 38:419-427

Justice, Aggression and Eros

F. R. Bienenfeld

In an earlier publication (4) the attempt was made to apply Freud's discoveries to the problems of justice and law in order to demonstrate that psychological trends which can be observed in infancy form the whole framework of every legal system. They do so by repeating in the relations between citizens in society the attitude of brothers and sisters to each other, and in the relations of subject to ruler the attitude of every child towards his parents.

The application of psycho-analytical thought to the field of law is rare in the literature of psycho-analysis, but by no means unknown. In his excellent book Man, Morals and Society(10), Flügel quotes essays and books by analysts such as F. Alexander (2), (3), Theodor Reik (50), Hesnard and Laforgue (26), all of whom discussed the idea of justice. It is remarkable, however, and has some bearing on the present theme, that nearly all analysts and other psychologists (49a) who deal with the problem of justice confine themselves to an enquiry into criminal law and the consciousness of guilt. It would appear as if the legal system consisted mainly of criminal law, and justice were therefore based on the desire and the obligation of the ruler to punish, and on the wishes of the subjects either to get rid of feelings of guilt or to satisfy their impulse to vengeance.

It is not the purpose of this paper to draw attention to the disregard by psychologists and analysts of an aspect of justice whose driving force created sections of law which are at least as vital for the survival of society and of individuals as is criminal law.

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