Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Teo


  • Mario Orozco Guzman
  • Jeannet Quiroz
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5583-7_658


The concept of desire has been used in both philosophy and psychology to refer to an inner force that gives human beings vitality. As both foundation and motor of the psyche, this concept was developed and established on the basis of the work of Freud. Lacan later reworked the concept and transferred it to the external determinant of language, while the philosophical modernity of Descartes and Spinoza provided a relevant prior context for development of the concept. For Freud, desire is the cornerstone of the unconscious formation of dreams, symptoms, parapraxis, and jokes. As part of the pleasure principle, it represents the demands of sexuality in opposition to the reality principle and the strict moral demands of the superego.


It is a formative process of the subject that pushes it towards experiences of satisfaction and recognition in a fundamentally symbolic sense. As a result, it is home to the dimension of truth to which the subject must be ethically...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universidad Michoacana de San Nicola’s de HidalgoMoreliaMexico
  2. 2.School of PsychologyUMSNHMoreliaMexico