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State University of New York Press
Denial, Negation, and the Forces of the Negative: Freud, Hegel, Lacan, Spitz, and Sophocles

Denial, Negation, and the Forces of the Negative: Freud, Hegel, Lacan, Spitz, and Sophocles

by Wilfried Ver EeckeWilfried Ver Eecke
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A comprehensive account of denial viewed not only psychoanalytically but also philosophically.

It is often the case that painful truths emerge first in the form of denial; one needs to create distance from what is painful. In Denial, Negation, and the Forces of the Negative Wilfried Ver Eecke constructs a comprehensive, lucid account of denial’s psychological and philosophical dimensions while using Freud, Hegel, Lacan, Spitz, and Sophocles to help us understand this unavoidable aspect of human existence.

Ver Eecke acknowledges Hegel’s claim that the road to truth is not a path of doubt, but a highway of despair, and argues, via Hegel’s ontology of the person, that denial can be understood as a desiring being’s defense against despair. By examining the role of no-saying in children, Freud’s claims about freedom of the will and its necessary prerequisites, and Sophocles’ Oedipus, Ver Eecke demonstrates the idea that denial is connected with situations in which the self-image of a person is threatened. He concludes with a colleague’s autobiography to highlight the deep, tragic experiences that denial covers, and the enormous psychic work required to overcome profound denial, with the ultimate reward of experiencing oneself as the fulfillment of the promise of life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 2900791466000
Publisher: State University of New York Press
Publication date: 06/01/2006
Series: SUNY Series in Hegelian Studies Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 200
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)

About the Author

At Georgetown University, Wilfried Ver Eecke is Professor of Philosophy and also teaches courses in psychology and psychoanalysis. He is the coauthor (with Alphonse De Waelhens) of Phenomenology and Lacan on Schizophrenia, after the Decade of the Brain and Saying “No”:Its Meaning in Child Development, Psychoanalysis, Linguistics, and Hegel.

Table of Contents


1. The Complex Phenomenon of Denial

2. The Epistemological Problem of Self-description in Freudian Psychoanalysis

3. Denial and Hegel’s Philosophical Anthropology

4. Denial and Hegel’s Theory of the Will

5. A Child’s No-Saying: A Step towards Independence

6. Oedipus, the King: How and How not to Undo a Denial

7. Denial, Metaphor, the Symbolic, and Freedom: The Ontological Dimensions of Denial



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