Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: From vital to psychic energies : a study on the influence of the debate mechanism-vitalism in psychology and psychoanalysis
Author: Nascimento, Leonardo Niro
ISNI:       0000 0004 7965 0937
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Restricted access.
Access from Institution:
This works traces the rise and development of the notion of "psychic energy", from its origins in the emerging 18th century life sciences in Germany and France to psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis is an inherently interdisciplinary science (Kitcher, 1992), and a rich and long tradition of historical scholarship has aptly demonstrated how psychoanalytic ideas were influenced by those stemming from disciplines such as psychiatry, sociology, anthropology, sexology, and neurology. A primary aim in this project is to include physiology as another important historical source. The main goal is therefore to provide a transdisciplinary study that situates the birth of psychoanalysis within debates in the history of biology, beyond those that focused on the role of evolutionary thinking (Ritvo, 1990; Sulloway, 1979). The historical literature on the origin of the life sciences has generally focused on the different uses (or instead, rejection) of the teleological argument of a final cause responsible for organising and guiding the form and functions of organisms. The debate was centred on the notion of "vital force" - vaguely understood as an abstract principle, analogous to Newtonian forces, which directed inert matter thus providing it with the form and functions found in organisms. This debate, classically described as one between mechanism vs. vitalism, was carried further into the 19th century in different directions. The thesis traces how the debate has impacted the early formulations of psychoanalysis, in particular the metapsychological models, by focusing on the inheritance of propositions deriving from physiology, via Breuer and Freud's engagement with the Berlin Biophysics Group and other life science theorists of the time.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available