A critical consideration of narratives concerning the emergence of civilization: Nietzsche and Freud

Thesis Type: Postgraduate

Institution Of The Thesis: Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Department of Philosophy, Turkey

Approval Date: 2016


Supervisor: BARIŞ PARKAN


In this MA thesis, I will investigate understandings concerning the emergence of civilization which can be traced to ancient thought, but which is clearly taken into account by the modern thinkers, especially Hobbes and Rousseau. First, I will present Hobbes‘ and Rousseau‘s narratives concerning the development of civilization and then I will problematize their approaches by introducing Nietzsche‘s and Freud‘s understandings which inherently criticizes Hobbes‘ and Rousseau‘s accounts. Another reason why I will concentrate on these philosophers is that they all depict a hypothetical condition of the human being before civil society and try to give an account of the condition of the human being after the establishment of civil society. Then, I will attempt to offer a reading of Nietzsche‘s and Freud‘s interpretations of the emergence of civilization as a dynamic process in relation to the alterations of the human being. By focusing on the struggle, namely agon, between ‗noble‘ and ‗slave‘ forces in Nietzsche‘s understanding and by focusing on the antagonism between the death drive and the life drive in Freud‘s understanding, I will concentrate on their account of the emergence of civilization in relation to the changes in the human being which is sans telos according to both thinkers. Finally, I will discuss to what extent Freud‘s understanding significantly diverges from Nietzsche‘s thinking.