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Revista chilena de neuro-psiquiatría

versión On-line ISSN 0717-9227


CORSI, Paulina. A Preliminary Approach To Freud's Concept of Death Instinct. Rev. chil. neuro-psiquiatr. [online]. 2002, vol.40, n.4, pp.361-370. ISSN 0717-9227.

The death instinct's has been and remains as one of the most controversial postulates of psychoanalysis. This paper attempts to review the basics of death instinct hoping to account for the meaning as well as the implications of it according to Freud. In the framework of the last theory of intincts the death instinct or Tanatos, as oppossed to the life instinct or Eros, represents a basic drive that impels all living organisms to go back to the inorganic state from where they emerged. Freud asserts Tanatos as a fundamental principle of fight and destruction which manifests itself fastening connections at every and all levels. Freud sees the life instinct as a force which enhances cohesion and integration that in turn provides living beings with a drive to counter attack destructiveness. The observation of the clinical phenomena of compulsive repetitions as well as negative therapeutical reaction led Freud to a reformulation of his conception of instinct dynamics. Freud´s evolution of instinct dynamics is reviewed to foster a better understanding of the meaning of the concept of death instinct and the need that justifies its introduction in a broader reform. The concept of death instinct pointed out to a turning point in psychoanalysis as it revolutionized the understanding of aggresive phenomena in mental functioning.

Palabras clave : psychoanalysis; death instinct; Tanatos; Freud.

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