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Soc. Sci. 2016, 5(3), 29;

Method in the Madness: Hysteria and the Will to Power

School of Social and Behavioural Sciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia QLD 4072, Australia
Academic Editor: Steve Duck
Received: 12 May 2016 / Revised: 28 June 2016 / Accepted: 4 July 2016 / Published: 12 July 2016
Full-Text   |   PDF [286 KB, uploaded 12 July 2016]


At the very start of a chapter on hysteria in her book From Mastery to Analysis: Theories of Gender in Psychoanalytic Feminism, Patricia Elliot cites Nietzsche’s “truths are illusions of which one has forgotten that they are illusions”. This paper follows this connection between hysteria and the work of Nietzsche. This paper will highlight how a Lacanian interpretation of hysteria can elucidate Heidegger’s reading of Nietzsche’s Will to Power and how this interpretation of the Will to Power can better explain the value and importance of hysteria for psychoanalysis and philosophy. I will show that the hysteric’s discourse has a “higher value” than the master’s discourse because it meets Nietzsche’s definition of art, which aims at life’s enhancement rather than the master’s knowledge or truth which aims at the preservation of life. My work will explain how the hysteric’s discourse can transform the master’s discourse into the analyst’s discourse through the Will to Power. This is important, as this is the ultimate aim of psychoanalysis where “At the end of analysis the subject passes to the position of analyst”. This is the ultimate aim of psychoanalysis because “For Lacan, the Discourse of the Analyst is revolutionary because it articulates the truth of the (unconscious) subject”. Fundamentally, the objective of this article is to demonstrate that “hysteria is to be understood not as an ‘abnormal’ condition but as one possible manifestation of the subject’s uncanny relationship to itself”. View Full-Text
Keywords: Nietzsche; Lacan; Heidegger; hysteria Nietzsche; Lacan; Heidegger; hysteria
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Gildersleeve, M. Method in the Madness: Hysteria and the Will to Power. Soc. Sci. 2016, 5, 29.

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