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The American Journal of Psychoanalysis

, Volume 78, Issue 2, pp 159–181 | Cite as

Good and Bad: Love and Intimacy From Plato to Melanie Klein

  • David Stromberg
Article
  • 56 Downloads

Abstract

Melanie Klein’s theories on love outline a complex system of relations—an oscillating dynamic of psychical and emotional tendencies following from both actual experience and fantasies produced by the mind. Her insights are often discussed and applied in psychoanalytical contexts, but the philosophical implications of her theory—especially in relation to Platonic thought—have rarely been discussed. In this article, I will attempt to address this gap by setting out some preliminary yet core considerations shared by both Plato and Klein. First, I will describe some structural parallels between Kleinian and Platonic thought, especially in dialectical terms. Second, I will outline Plato’s covert influence on Freud as passing through the teachings of philosopher Franz Brentano. And last, I will discuss intimacy as a struggle between the forces of good and bad, creativity and destruction, and love and hate—suggesting that Klein’s conception of love emerges as a moral exigency.

Keywords

Klein Plato Freud phenomenology intimacy 

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Copyright information

© Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Literary StudiesHebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael

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