Precariousness and Bad Faith: Giovanni Jervis on the Illusions of Self-Conscious Subjectivity

Massimo Marraffa


Giovanni Jervis (1933-2009) was a prominent figure in the Italian intellectual landscape of the last fifty years. A student of the philosopher-ethnologist Ernesto De Martino, the main focus of his research was on social psychiatry and psychology, the foundations of psychology (especially of the psychodynamic theories), and the psychological aspects of social and political problems. This article explores his rethinking of the psychoanalytic criticism of the subject. I shall try to show that Jervis has given shape to the premises of a philosophical anthropology that originally aims to fit aspects of de Martino’s phenomenological psychology of identity and the psychodynamic theme of defense mechanisms into the ontological framework of the cognitive sciences.

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