Event Date: 26 January 2017
Chelsea Lecture Theatre
University of the Arts London
John Islip Street
London, SW1P 4JU
Professor Stella Sandford (Kingston) – The Many Names of Sex
In the first edition of his Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality Freud’s break with both his sexological and philosophical predecessors is marked with a conceptual distinction (obscured in the usual English translations) between the ‘reproductive drive’ and ‘sexuality’. For some of Freud’s philosophical predecessors, something like the ‘reproductive drive’ and the differences between the sexes themselves are understood either as the clearest expression of purposiveness in nature or in terms of a metaphysics of nature. In both cases sex difference is not merely a natural empirical fact but a philosophical presupposition developed either telologically (Kant) or metaphysically (Schopenhauer). This lecture will show how Freud’s rejection of the concept of the ‘reproductive drive’ in favour of that of sexuality is thus also a rejection of teleological and metaphysical conceptions of sex difference – the conceptions that still dominate popular discourses today.
Introduction by Dr Maria Walsh (Chelsea):