Freud and Perversion

  • Jerome Neu
Part of the Philosophy and Medicine book series (PHME, volume 22)


The first of Freud’s Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality is entitled The Sexual Aberrations.’ Why should Freud begin a book the main point of which is to argue for the existence of infantile sexuality with a discussion of adult perversions (after all, the existence of the adult aberrations was not news)? While many answers might be suggested with some plausibility (e.g., to ease the shock of the new claim; or, medical texts typically begin with pathology), I think Freud’s beginning can be usefully understood as part of a brilliant argumentative strategy to extend the notion of sexuality by showing how extensive it already was. Freud himself (in the Preface to the Fourth Edition) describes the book as an attempt “at enlarging the concept of sexuality” ([11], p. 134). The extension involved in the notion of perversion prepares the way for the extension involved in infantile sexuality.


Sexual Activity Sexual Desire Sexual Object Moral Luck Standard Edition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Baker, R. and Elliston, F. (eds.): 1975, Philosophy and Sex, Prometheus Books, Buffalo.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Balint, M.: 1965, ‘Perversions and Genitality’, Primary Love and Psycho-analytic Technique, Tavistock Publications, London.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bayer, R.: 1981, Homosexuality and American Psychiatry: The Politics of Diagnosis, Basic Books, New York.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Boswell, J.: 1980, Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality, University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    DSM-III: 1980, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 3rd ed., American Psychiatric Association, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Erikson, E.: 1963, Childhood and Society, 2nd ed., W. W. Norton and Company, New York.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Freud, E. L. (ed.): 1961, Letters of Sigmund Freud: 1873–1939, The Hogarth Press, London.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Freud, S.: 1895, Project for a Scientific Psychology, Standard Edition I.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Freud, S.: 1898, Sexuality in the Aetiology of the Neuroses, Standard Edition III.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Freud, S.: 1905, Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria, Standard Edition VII.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Freud, S.: 1905, Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality, Standard Edition VII.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Freud, S.: 1908, Character and Anal Erotism, Standard Edition IX.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Freud, S.: 1908, ‘Civilized’ Sexual Morality and Modern Nervous Illness, Standard Edition IX.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Freud, S.: 1909, Analysis of a Phobia in a Five-Year-Old Boy, Standard Edition X.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Freud, S.: 1909, Notes upon a Case of Obsessional Neurosis, Standard Edition X.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Freud, S.: 1910, Leonardo da Vinci and a Memory of his Childhood, Standard Edition XI.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Freud, S.: 1910, ‘Wild’ Psycho-Analysis, Standard Edition XI.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Freud, S.: 1912, Psycho-Analytic Notes on an Autobiographical Account of a Case of Paranoia, Standard Edition XII.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Freud, S.: 1912, Contributions to a Discussion on Masturbation, Standard Edition XII.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Freud, S.: 1914, On Narcissism, Standard Edition XIV.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Freud, S.: 1915, Instincts and their Vicissitudes, Standard Edition XIV.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Freud, S.: 1917, Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis, Standard Edition XVI.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Freud, S.: 1920, The Psychogenesis of a Case of Homosexuality in a Woman, Standard Edition XVIII.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Freud, S.: 1921, Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego, Standard Edition XVIII.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Freud, S.: 1922, Some Neurotic Mechanisms in Jealousy, Paranoia and Homosexuality, Standard Edition XVIII.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Freud, S.: 1924, The Economic Problem of Masochism, Standard Edition XIX.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Freud, S.: 1927, Fetishism, Standard Edition XXI.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Freud, S.: 1933, New Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis, Standard Edition XXII.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Freud, S.: 1954, The Origins of Psycho-Analysis: Letters to Wilhelm Fliess, Drafts and Notes, 1887–1902, Imago, London.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Gert, B. and Culver, C: 1982, Philosophy in Mediane: Conceptual and Ethical Issues in Medicine, Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Greenacre, P.: 1979, ‘Fetishism’, in I. Rosen (ed.). Sexual Deviation, 2nd ed., Oxford University Press, pp. 79–108.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Hampshire, S.: 1975, Freedom of the Individual, 2nd ed., Chatto and Windus, London.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Laplanche, J. and Pontalis, J.-B.: 1973, The Language of Psycho-Analysis, The Hogarth Press, London.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Marmor, J.: 1980, ‘Epilogue: Homosexuality and the Issue of Mental Illness’, in J. Marmor (ed.), Homosexual Behavior: A Modern Reappraisal, Basic Books, New York, pp. 390–401.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Nagel, T.: 1969, ‘Sexual Perversion’, The Journal of Philosophy, 66, pp. 5–17. Included in his Mortal Questions, Cambridge University Press, 1979, and in [1] and [41].CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Nagel, T.: 1976, ‘Moral Luck’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, vol. Supp. L, pp. 137–151. Included in his Mortal Questions, Cambridge University Press, 1979.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Neu, J.: 1977, Emotion, Thought, and Therapy, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Neu, J.: 1981, ‘Getting Behind the Demons’, Humanities in Society IV, 171–196.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Ruddick, S.: ‘Better Sex’, in Baker, R. and Elliston, F. (eds.): 1975, Philosophy and Sex, Prometheus Books, Buffalo, pp. 83–104.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Slote, M.: ‘Inapplicable Concepts and Sexual Perversion’, in Baker, R. and Elliston, F. (eds.): 1975, Philosophy and Sex, Prometheus Books, Buffalo, pp. 261–267.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Soble, A. (ed.): 1980, The Philosophy of Sex: Contemporary Readings, Littlefield, Adams and Co.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Taylor, C: 1964, The Explanation of Behaviour, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Williams, B.: 1976, ‘Moral Luck’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, vol. Supp. L, pp. 115–135. Included in his Moral Luck, Cambridge University Press, 1981.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Wilson, E. O.: 1978, On Human Nature, Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Wolpe, J. and Rachman, S.: 1963, ‘Psychoanalytic Evidence: A Critique Based on Freud’s Case of Little Hans’, in S. Rachman (ed.). Critical Essays on Psychoanalysis, Pergamon, Oxford, pp. 198–220.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jerome Neu
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CaliforniaSanta CruzUSA

Personalised recommendations