Drive to drive: The deconstruction of the Freudian trieb

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In the essay ‘To Speculate – On “Freud”’, which is published in The Postcards: From Socrates to Freud and Beyond (1980) and draws upon the last part of his unedited lecture course on La Vie la mort (taught in 1975), Jacques Derrida engages a close reading of Sigmund Freud’s Beyond the Pleasure Principle. This article focuses on the deconstruction of the Freudian concept of drive (Trieb) that Derrida unfolds across his reading. It traces the analysis of the movement of autotelicity (auto-télie) that, according to Derrida, underpins the drive’s relation to itself, and argues that the French philosopher interprets a specific drive evoked (but not thematized) by Freud, the drive to power (Bemächtigungstrieb), as the figure of the deconstruction of that autotelicity. Furthermore, the article suggests that the implications of this argument extend beyond Derrida’s early reading of Freud, since they cast a new light on the argument for replacing the concept of sovereignty with that of the drive to power, which Derrida elaborates in his late political analyses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-79
Number of pages21
JournalDerrida Today
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019


Dive into the research topics of 'Drive to drive: The deconstruction of the Freudian trieb'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this