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Caropreso, F. Simanke, R.T. (2008). Life and Death in Freudian Metapsychology: A Reappraisal of the Second Instinctual Dualism. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 89(5):977-992.

(2008). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 89(5):977-992

Life and Death in Freudian Metapsychology: A Reappraisal of the Second Instinctual Dualism

Fátima Caropreso and Richard Theisen Simanke

(Final version accepted 6 May 2008)

In this paper we re-examine the second instinctual dualism hypothesis introduced by Freud in Beyond the Pleasure Principle. We suggest that the life instinct hypothesis as something opposed to the death instinct does not seem to fit into this theory easily. On the other hand, death instinct turns out to be an internal necessity of Freudian metapsychological theory from the beginning of Freud's metapsychological writing. We shall argue, based on the ideas formulated in Beyond the Pleasure Principle and in later metapsychological texts, that Freud could not wholly justify the existence of an opposition and a symmetry between the two classes of instincts. Even though up to his last works Freud held on to this instinctual dualism, again and again his arguments lead to the idea that the life instincts should be regarded, ultimately, as death instincts.

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