Update
The Oxford Biblical Studies Online and Oxford Islamic Studies Online have retired. Content you previously purchased on Oxford Biblical Studies Online or Oxford Islamic Studies Online has now moved to Oxford Reference, Oxford Handbooks Online, Oxford Scholarship Online, or What Everyone Needs to Know®. For information on how to continue to view articles visit the subscriber services page.
Dismiss

Related Content

Related Overviews

 

'pleasure principle' can also refer to...

 

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Science and technology
  • Psychology

GO

Show Summary Details

Overview

pleasure principle


Quick Reference

In psychoanalysis, the precept according to which psychological processes and actions are governed by the gratification of needs and the avoidance or discharge of unpleasurable tension. It is the governing principle of the id, in contrast to the reality principle, which is a governing principle of the ego. Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) borrowed the concept from the German philosopher, physician, psychologist, and mystic Gustav Theodor Fechner (1801–87) who, in an article in the journal Zeitschrift für Philosophie und philosophische Kritik in 1848, introduced the term (in its German form Lustprinzip) and noted that motives underlying actions can be unconscious. Freud introduced the concept in his book The Interpretation of Dreams (1900), where he initially called it the unpleasure principle (Standard Edition, IV-V, at p. 574), but later he fell in with Fechner's more natural terminology. Also called the pleasure-pain principle or (awkwardly but closer to Freud's original German) the pleasure-unpleasure principle. See also free energy, perception-consciousness system, pleasure-ego, primary process, principle of constancy.


Reference entries