The Will to Truth, the Death Drive and the Will to Power


This paper claims that Freud’s idea of the death drive is analogous to the will to truth in traditional philosophy and can be better understood as a truth drive. The argument is based upon Nietzsche’s interpretation of the will to truth as a concealed will to death. This interpretation emphasizes the opposition between truth and life; truth is a concept of constancy while life is a concept of change. Freud’s recognition of the conservative nature of the drives brings him to the paradoxical conclusion of the existence of a death drive. It is paradoxical, for Freud, since it considers death as a fundamental principle of life and as its aim. The paper suggests that by replacing the concept of death by the concept of truth and using Nietzsche’s idea of “the will to power” this paradox can be resolved without losing Freud’s insight of the dialectic nature of psychological life.

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Correspondence to Shai Frogel.

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Shai Frogel, Ph.D., Kibbutzim College of Education, Tel-Aviv University and Tel Aviv Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis.

Address Correspondence to: Prof. Shai Frogel, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Kibbutzim College of Education, Namir Road 149, Tel Aviv, 6250769 Israel. E-mail:

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Frogel, S. The Will to Truth, the Death Drive and the Will to Power. Am J Psychoanal 80, 85–93 (2020).

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  • Death drive
  • Freud
  • Nietzsche
  • will to power
  • will to truth