Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To go directly to an article using its bibliographical details…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

If you know the bibliographic details of a journal article, use the Journal Section to find it quickly. First, find and click on the Journal where the article was published in the Journal tab on the home page. Then, click on the year of publication. Finally, look for the author’s name or the title of the article in the table of contents and click on it to see the article.

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

Kunz, G. (2007). An Analysis of the Psyche Inspired by Emmanuel Levinas. Psychoanal. Rev., 94(4):617-638.

(2007). Psychoanalytic Review, 94(4):617-638

An Analysis of the Psyche Inspired by Emmanuel Levinas

George Kunz

Emmanuel Levinas, a somewhat abstract philosopher, offers an alternative analysis of the psyche, one that places the self not at its own center but in the Other. From a phenomenological rather than a psychoanalytic perspective, he describes how the self reveals itself as both egocentric and radically responsible for the Other person. For Levinas, the Other has priority over the ego. With this rather extravagant yet compelling insight we can describe psychopathology as the failure to recognize and act on this responsibility. Psychotherapy, then, is aimed at helping the self transcend self-interest and act responsibly. Simplicity, humility, and patience can be described as the styles of this radical responsibility, necessary for both good psychotherapist and good patient.

What is Human about the Human? Ethical Responsibility!

Each human is individually unique yet shares with others immanent vulnerability and miraculous resiliency. Easily torn apart but amazingly recoverable, the fundamental characteristic of the human is its paradoxical identity. The human condition is conflicted, as it is driven by self-interest and responsible for others, simultaneously for-itself and for-the-Other. The psyche seeks its identity filling its needs and yet is identified as the one called out of its fulfillment to serve. This ambiguity is the main source of its malady and its healing. It allows us to understand what makes pathology pathological and therapy therapeutic.

[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 © 2021, 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.