The Pleasure Principle

(314 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

  • The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume 12: Global Voices, Global Histories: World Literatures and Cultures.

The idea that human behaviour is governed by the search for pleasure may have been first broached by Epicurus (341-270 BCE) who held that freedom from pain in the body and from trouble in the mind is the primary motivation in human conduct. The idea was re-formulated in 1848 as the Lustprinzip by the influential theorist of psychic behaviour Gustav Theodor Fechner (1801-87) in an essay that influenced Sigmund Freud. Fechner’s thought was inspired by a general nineteenth-century aim of extending the general psychological principles of physics to areas such as psychology and physiology, hence the title of his major study Elemente der Psychophysik [Elements of …

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Clark, Robert. "The Pleasure Principle". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 25 October 2005
[, accessed 10 October 2015.]

Related Groups

  1. Psychoanalysis