Publication 5514

Iacono A. M. (2002) Francisco Varela and the concept of autonomy. European Journal of Psychoanalysis 15(%P). Fulltext at
Starting from Varela’s epistemological reflections, the author attempts to review, in short fragments, the history of the concept of autonomy. After a brief reference to the Ancient Greeks, the author’s attention focuses on the tension between will and desire that characterized the concept of autonomy in Rousseau and Kant. After briefly considering Kant’s image of the baby-walker, the investigation moves to Hegel and his master/slave dialectic and, on the basis of reflections by Jessica Benjamin, to Winnicott and his idea of a child’s autonomization in his relation to the mother. Via a brief comparison between Winnicott’s concept of third area and Bateson’s idea of frame, the author signals out Winnicott’s reflection as a decisive moment for the idea of autonomy in relations. The goal of this attempt consists in putting forward an idea of autonomy capable of cohabiting with the concept of relation without opposing it, and that may at the same time satisfy certain requirements set by research like Francisco Varela’s.


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