March 24, 2014
There's been a change in the conception of self
A change in how we reason
We started with what the enlightenment was about- finding abstract reason, which is outside of
Enlightnment's conception of man is a timeless quality
o Our biggest abilities were not a result of time
Enlightenment focused on the individual
o Individually, we could use our reason to determine what was correct
19th century: who are we are depends on where we are
o This is already shift in the enlightenment conception
What is the meaning and goal of this history that we're in?
Faith in progress, both scientific, technological and political
Kant in perpetual peace: talked about individual logic and rationality that
would lead to advances
Hegel + Marx: logic is no longer as individualistic. Their stories are about
societies which determine our level of progress
Nietzsche: moral are rationalizations; has history but does not have faith in
rationality, and does not have as much faith in progress; we may be
historical creatures, but this isn't necessarily a good thing- reason here is
beginning to show its dark side- it is reason that's cutting us off from
meaning; looking at history: we don't see society as being as increasingly
rational, moral and better- moral beliefs are the result of non rational
forces in nature
Humans find themselves in a cold humanistic universe with no reason for doing
anything, we feel like a machine just trucking along.
Kant + Nietzsche represent the dominant modes of thought in their time
o Things get worse
o Freud + Weber: each in their way get something from Nietzsche and his
destabilization of the project of modernity
Freud is going to challenge the importance of reason in determining our
behavior and actions
Rationality is not just a source of good- a source of unfreedom rather than
The less that political thinkers are clear about what people are like, the more difficult it is
for them to harmonize them- this is a question of psychology, maybe philosophy.
Gives a theory that is in line with trains of thought of the time
o What does his theory mean for the way society is organized?
o What is the self we are trying to organize in this society? Freud found out that a lot of different disciplines weren't talking to each other and because
of this, there were many things that weren't being discussed that maybe could have been.
Freud is concerned with sexuality- sexual neuroses and sexual problems
One way to think about Freud: what motivates human behavior?
Answer falls into two camps:
20th c Nietzschians: everything is about power (power in the literal, broad
Freudians: all about sex, all the time
One of the most powerful drives we have is heros(sp)- says a lot about
what it means to be a subject, for Freud
What does the idea of the "subject" mean for politics?
o Is economics ultimately about psychology?- it is about what you think is best for
o Freud's theory is a theory of the self
Sees us having basic, deep, instinctual drives and these motivate our actions.
Biological account, sounds Nietzschian
These drives work in the background, they are not conscious drives
Romantic notion of the self- a deepe "you" to be discovered
We can't access what motivates us using self-refletion because our deep
instinctual forces are not there for us to see- human motivation is not
Using economic theory: what does macroeconomic theory depend on to
give it stregnth; universality- some basic assumptions about human