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ACE2479 Be Negative: The Power of Pessimistic Thinking (online only)

Started 6 Feb 2024

Sorry! The enrolment period is currently closed. Please check back soon.

Full course description

Course Overview:

This course presents an alternative perspective on anxiety, depression, and pessimism, challenging the conventional understanding that is predominantly influenced by positive psychology. In mainstream discourse, positive thinking is often valued while negative thinking is stigmatized, and treated as a pathology to be addressed. This course explores the alternative philosophical and psychoanalytic comprehention of the negative dimension of human existence, focusing on themes of suffering, despair, anxiety, and trauma.

Additionally, the course has a practical focus where we'll practice empathetic listening and other skills crucial for the challenge of bearing the pain of our own existence and coexisting with others.

Optional Exercise:

As part of this course, students have the option to keep a personal log of any changes in their thinking or insights related to the course material. This exercise is not mandatory but can be a a precious artifact of their existential exploration.


Course Practicalities :

This course will run Tuesday over 8 weeks, evenings from 7:00-9:00pm6th of February  to 26th March 2024, online over Microsoft Teams.

Closing date for applications: Monday 29th of January 2024.

Course Content:

Week 1: Introduction: Therapeutic Society and Possible Alternatives

Week 2: Schopenhauer's Pessimistic Philosophy: Suffering is Everywhere

Week 3: Kierkegaard and Heidegger on Anxiety

Week 4: Freud's Theories on Trauma and the Death Drive

Week 5: Sabina Spielrein: We-Psychology and the Dialectic of Destruction

Week 6: Catherine Malabou on Destructive Plasticity

Week 7: Todd McGowan: The Negative Project of Psychoanalysis

Week 8: Concluding Remarks and Discussion of the Optional Exercise: How to be Negative

Course Lecturer:

Julie Reshe, a Ukrainian-born philosopher, a practicing negative psychoanalyst, and a public intellectual, has been gaining international attention and recognition due to her recent book Negative Psychoanalysis for the Living Dead: Philosophical Pessimism and the Death Drive, published by Palgrave in 2023. Currently, she serves as a visiting professor at both University College Cork and University College Dublin and holds the position of Director of the Institute of Psychoanalysis at the Global Centre for Advanced Studies."

Entry Requirements:

Applicants must be at least 18 years old at course commencement.

Contact Details for Further Information


Please note our refund policy as follows
100% refund  if student cancels before course commencement
100% refund if student's course is cancelled due to insufficient numbers. 
If the student cancels after the first week of the course - full refund minus €50 processing fee