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(1962). Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XXV, 1961: On the Death Instinct. S. Viderman. Pp. 89-129.. Psychoanal Q., 31:138.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XXV, 1961: On the Death Instinct. S. Viderman. Pp. 89-129.

(1962). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 31:138

Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XXV, 1961: On the Death Instinct. S. Viderman. Pp. 89-129.

The author feels that in the present stage of our knowledge no validation of Freud's theory of the death instinct can be found in biological or physical facts. In the field of biology, Woodruff demonstrated that after thousands of reproductions Infusoria do not show any signs of degeneration or senescence. Carnot's physical principle of the degeneration of energy cannot be applied to vital matter; if anything, it appears that life tends to work in opposition to Carnot's principle as it is directed toward the construction of more complex entities from less complex ones. Further, it is difficult to speak of the existence of an instinct in connection with very primitive types of biological organization. Biological research does not confirm the hypothesis of death as a condition of vital functioning; rather, death appears to be a condition which has become possible when the organization has passed from simpler to more complex forms of life and asexual to sexual reproduction. Despite these biological findings, the author accedes to the concept of a death instinct on psychological grounds; he conceives of it as originating from an impulse to movement and change, and a tendency toward immobility, discharge of tension, and return to an inorganic state. The death instinct is envisaged as the equal of the life instinct, and as normal. To the author it is of dual origin: 1, it leads the being back to its original level in accordance with its natural destiny (at this level the death instinct proceeds from the id); 2, it represents punishment for neurotic guilt and forms part of the superego.

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Article Citation

(1962). Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XXV, 1961. Psychoanal. Q., 31:138

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