On Being Grown-Up: Loewald’s Concept of Maturity


The Verein der Freunde & Förderer der IPU e. V. is delighted to welcome the psychoanalyst and philosopher Joel Whitebook from New York. He will present a lecture on the psychoanalytic concept of maturity in light of Hans Loewalds conceptualization of the ego-development.

The Enlightenment idea of maturity, like the Enlightenment itself, has fallen on hard times.  Not only is it criticized for its excessive rationalism, progressivism, and Eurocentrism, but it also has a Victorian ring to it in today’s culture which values pleasure and self-fulfillment.  While this paper acknowledges the legitimacy of these criticisms and attempts to do justice to them, it also presents an immanent critique of the notion of maturity, and argues that, in a revised form, it should still serve as a basic norm for psychoanalysis. To make its case, it follows Loewald’s rejection of the conventional idea of maturity, which views it as the outcome of a unilinear progressive process that leaves the earlier stages of development behind. It argues, instead, that a fulfilled life must preserve so-called archaic experience and integrate it into expanded and enriched psychic structures.

Dr. Joel Whitebook is a philosopher and psychoanalyst.  He received his doctorate in philosophy at the New School for Social Research where he studied with Hannah Arendt, Hans Jonas, and Albrecht Wellmer.  He took a second doctorate in clinical psychology at The City University of New York and received his psychoanalytic training at The New York Freudian Society. Dr. Whitebook is currently a member of the faculty at The Columbia Psychoanalytic Center and was the founding Director of the University’s Psychoanalytic Studies Program.  In addition to many articles on psychoanalysis, philosophy, and critical theory, he is the author of Perversion and Utopia: A Study in Critical Theory and Psychoanalysis (MIT Press, 1995) and Freud: An Intellectual Biography (Cambridge University Press, 2017).

Joel Whitebook, New York

On Being Grown-Up: Loewald’s Concept of Maturity

When?
15 May 2023, 8 pm

Where?
Hörsaal 1, 3. OG Stromstr. 2, 10555 Berlin

Register via Mail (freunde(at)ipu-berlin.de) until 9 May, entrance fee: 8 Euro (free for all students and candidates in psychotherapy training).

Host
Verein der Freunde und Förderer der IPU Berlin e.V.,
Theresa Vos, Giovanni Peduto & Benedikt Salfeld