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Explanation and interpretation in psychoanalysis: a reading of Freud's introductory lectures on psychoanalysis

Litten, Roger (1996) Explanation and interpretation in psychoanalysis: a reading of Freud's introductory lectures on psychoanalysis. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86193) (KAR id:86193)


A reading of the first volume of Sigmund Freud's Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis (1916-17 [1915-17]), concentrating on the account of the technique for the interpretation of dreams. In these lectures Freud attempts to elaborate an empirical model for the investigation and explanation of the dream. Closer examination of this argument,

however, quickly brings to light certain diffIculties that allow us to question whether the validity of psychoanalytic procedures could ever be sustained in these terms. It is suggested that this account requires the introduction of conditions and assumptions of another order.

This argument amounts to a critique of the attempt to provide empirical foundations for certain key psychoanalytic concepts, in favour of a deduction of the validity of those concepts at the level of formal conditions of the technique of interpretation itself. It suggests that the legitimacy of that technique of interpretation depends upon a particular mode of deduction that can be considered characteristic of psychoanalytic procedure in general. The validity of the central concepts of psychoanalysis is then to be considered in terms of the procedure of argument from which their status is derived.

Two models of psychoanalytic investigation are considered - an empirical model for the explanation of the dream and a more formal account of the fundamental principles of interpretation. The thesis concludes that these two models are not in fact exclusive but are rather complementary, and that a comprehensive statement of the conditions of validity of the technique of psychoanalytic interpretation can only be achieved through their interaction and articulation. At the same time it attempts to demonstrate that these issues have a fundamental influence upon our conception of the orientation and goals of that technique of interpretation.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86193
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Uncontrolled keywords: Dreams; Interpretation; Psychoanalysis; Sigmund Freud
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 16:33 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 10:27 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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