College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Theses and Dissertations

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nature, psychoanalysis, sexuality, drive theory, instinct


For millennia, sexuality has traditionally been a weak spot for philosophy. With few exceptions, sexuality has been a point at which philosophers seem to suddenly stop philosophizing. By treating sexuality as a problem—a problem worth taking seriously as a problem—Freud challenges us to speculate beyond this traditional stumbling block. Through an investigation of Freud's theory of sexuality, this dissertation seeks to open up a series of philosophical questions that force us to re-think not only the nature of sexuality, but also the nature of nature itself. The guiding question for this dissertation becomes, not whether Freud himself is a naturalist, but rather: what does a naturalism look like when we take Freud's problem of sexuality seriously? What Freud shows is that nature itself is "inconsistent" insofar as it produces itself and its perversion in an internally self-differentiated and self-differentiating movement that gives rise both what we have come to call the “natural” and the “non-natural.”

Available for download on Saturday, April 26, 2031