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Levy, J. (2003). The Meaning of the Dream in Psychoanalysis: Rachel B. Blass Albany: State University of New York Press, 2002, 234 pp.. Canadian J. Psychoanal., 11(2):556-559.

(2003). Canadian Journal of Psychoanalysis, 11(2):556-559

The Meaning of the Dream in Psychoanalysis: Rachel B. Blass Albany: State University of New York Press, 2002, 234 pp.

Review by:
Joshua Levy

Rachel Blass, a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, has written a complex and philosophical critical evaluation of Freud's Interpretation of Dreams and his subsequent papers on dreams. She is well aware that most clinical analysts would lack the background to accompany her in probing Freud's basic dream hypotheses and would abandon the journey prematurely. To keep all analysts interested, she promises that understanding her critical analysis of Freud's dream theories will strengthen the foundation of their clinical work. Her goal, which she pursues vigorously and unrelentingly, is to challenge Freud's claim that he discovered the meaning that actually exists in dreams. Repeatedly, Blass comes to the conclusion that Freud's justifications of his basic dream hypotheses fail to live up to scientific standards.

In the first two chapters, Blass describes her standards for evaluating Freud's dream theories. These standards emerge from careful analysis of the debate between the “positivist” and the “hermeneutist” on basic issues of meaning and causation, which Blass applies to the psychoanalytic context. In her discussion, she raises fundamental questions about Freud's standards of truth, especially, as she sees it, the weakness in his reliance on coherence to justify the truth of his dream theories. I and many of my colleagues have only scant knowledge of these issues, and I wholeheartedly recommend studying them carefully.

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