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Carveth, D.L. (2010). Superego, Conscience, and the Nature and Types of Guilt. Mod. Psychoanal., 35(1):106-130.

(2010). Modern Psychoanalysis, 35(1):106-130

Superego, Conscience, and the Nature and Types of Guilt

Donald L. Carveth, Ph.D.

In his contribution to psychoanalysis and social theory, Freud, Women, and Morality: The Psychology of Good and Evil, Eli Sagan (1988) argues that conscience and superego are distinct psychic structures that frequently conflict. Because Freud associated morality with the superego and immorality with the id, he never clearly grasped that in order to advance toward a mature and responsible moral outlook we must overcome the “immoral morality” of the merely conventional (often racist, sexist, heterosexist, etc.), authoritarian and tyrannical superego. In this paper, the author elaborates upon Sagan's contrast between the superego, based on identification with the aggressor and fueled by hate, and the conscience, based on identification with the nurturer and driven by attachment and love. A typology is offered differentiating and illustrating the operation of nine distinct types of guilt.

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