The therapeutic dimension of philosophy attempts to give the ultimate philosophic question – those of freedom, God, and immortality – a proper place in thinking. They lie at the limits of conceptual intelligibility. Borrowing a phrase from Karl Jaspers – who, according to Hannah Arendt, was the only true Kantian since Kant – these are boundary (limit) questions, in turn, pointing to limit conditions and experiences of human existence (Existenz). These questions inevitably transcend the limits of any language whose field of reference is sense perception. They are undecidable through the use of our finite sense. They show human beings at their most anxious and vulnerable moments, facing death, life, and the finitude of time in the world of man. In the archeological metaphor of the ancient city, Freud’s language intersects directly with that of Wittgenstein. Quoting the latter: ‘Our language can be seen as an ancient city: a maze of little streets and squares, of old and new houses, and of houses with additions from various periods; and this surrounded by a multitude of new boroughs with straight regular streets and uniform houses [1945: p. 8; paragraph 18]. Of course, Freud’s use of the ancient analogy is different than Wittgenstein’s. Freud wants to suggest that in mental life nothing which has once been formed can perish (1930, p. 69): ‘We ask ourselves how much a visitor, whom we will suppose to be equipped with the most complete historical and topographical knowledge, may still find left of these early stages in the Rome of today. Except for a few gaps, he will see the wall of Aurelian almost unchanged. In some places he will be able to find sections of the Servian wall where they have been excavated and brought to light. If he knows enough – more than present day archaeology does – he may perhaps be able to trace out in the plan of the city the whole course of that wall….’ [1930: p. 69]. Although primitive psychic structures and defenses have been replace by modern ones, still the foundations remain. Further details are attached.
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