The objectification of human phenomena: observations in the light of Winnicott and Heidegger /A objetificação dos fenômenos humanos: um olhar à luz de Winnicott e Heidegger

Natureza Humana 17 (1):58-73 (2015)
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In The Age of the World Picture, philosopher Martin Heidegger claims that scientific representations do not reduce themselves to pure appropriations of what they present. Rather, they convey investigations that confine being to rules of appropriation. Those rules govern how natural science accesses phenomena. The choice of natural science as the predominant mode of representation of reality entails what Heidegger calls a process of objectification (Vergegenständlichung). In his Zollikon Seminars, Heidegger questions the tribute paid by the sciences of the mind to the logic of the natural sciences, and stresses that Freud, by thinking of the mind as a machine driven by instinctive powers, assigns to human phenomena the objective features set by the natural sciences. This paper purports to show that Winnicott, by formulating a theory of personal maturing, disagrees with the objectifying requirements of the natural sciences. For Winnicott, traditional psychoanalysis uses categories that are inadequate for describing the changes babies undergo in the environment that gives them care and attention, because its analysis is confined to the field of libido relations. With that in mind, it is not possible to speak about human maturation processes using an objectifying language; Winnicott stresses (in The newborn and his mother) that “I cannot sacrifice a patient on the altar of science”. This paper argues that Winnicott disagrees with the naturalistic imperative, which reduces the real to what is objective and places physics as a model for the sciences. The paper also broaches on the issue of how far the considerations of Heidegger and Winnicott regarding access to human phenomena allow us to discuss the current overwhelming process of medicating everyday life.


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