“Affect” as in “apple”

From: The Fabric of Affect in the Psychoanalytic Discourse (1999), by André Green:

“…In French, ‘affect’ is a specifically psychoanalytic term. It appears neither in Littre, nor in Robert. Its importation into French is due to Freud, who sometimes uses Affekt, sometimes Empfindung, sometimes Gefuhl. Affekt has always been translated into French by affect, Empfindung by sensation and Gefuhl by sentiment. But the various meanings overlap and translation poses embarrassing problems, as (James Beaumont) Strachey notes in his introduction to the Standard Edition. Thus, in English, Empfindung is sometimes translated as ‘feeling’, sometimes as ‘emotion’. Similarly, Gefuhl cannot always be validly translated as ‘feeling’ and may require the term ‘emotion’. In ‘Obsessions and Phobias’, an article written in French in 1895, Freud translates Affekt by etat emotif, a term from the psychiatric vocabulary of the time. Similarly, we later find works in the English-language literature that refer to ‘emotions’ rather than to ‘affects’. Such authors often discuss the terminology to be used and the distinctions to be made.

In this area, where subtlety is of the utmost importance, it is vital to specify the use one is making of terms. When dealing with the emotional life, the French psychological tradition usually distinguished, in the absence of the term affect, between emotion, an acute, transitory state, sentiment, a more attenuated, more durable state, and passion, which is violent, profound and lasting. Although emotion seems to have preserved a stable meaning, as has sentiment, the word passion, on the other hand, had a more general, generic meaning, since passions cover all the phenomena of emotional life. It was used in this way in the seventeenth century and even right up to the nineteenth.”

From: Victor Manoel Andrade (2003) Affect, Thought, and Consciousness: The Freudian Theory of Psychic Structuring from an Evolutionary Perspective, Neuropsychoanalysis, 5:1:


Freud regarded affect as the outcome of secretory or vasomotor discharge inside the body. This paper describes the genesis and development of the psyche in view of this bodily characteristic of the affects, based on the obscure Freudian concept of affective structure. This notion is seen here as the memory trace of the first experiences of pleasure and unpleasure, which constitute the germinal core of the mind. “The exigencies of life” bring about a process by which automatic regulation by the pleasure principle is replaced by thought, at which point ideational structures become superimposed over affective structures. The evolution from affective to ideational structures is described, as well as the way in which these latter acquire psychic quality (consciousness) through memory residues of speech. The role of the object in structuring affective experiences is underscored, as it is this role that makes transference the pillar of support for the psychoanalytic process. Affect and thought are seen as inextricable, a fact that, besides reinforcing Freud’s conviction that psychoanalysis is a natural science, gives Freudian metapsychology sufficient range to make it a theoretical support for the clinical advances being made by different currents today and to aid in arriving at a desired common ground.”

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