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Groth, H.M. (1982). Interpretation for Freud and Heidegger. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 9:67-74.

(1982). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 9:67-74

Interpretation for Freud and Heidegger

H. Miles Groth


Significant similarities between Freud's technique of interpreting his analysand's utterances in the analytic setting and Heidegger's method of hermeneutic interpretation of philosophical and poetic texts have been indicated and discussed. Both men, working independently, emphasized the efficacy of what is here called the lexical text, i.e. the spoken utterance, over the inscribed text of the philosopher or poet, and the unspoken text of the analysand. The lexical text, taken as the 'object' of interpretation, is treated by Freud and Heidegger as a paratactic series. Interpretation, for Freud, is directed toward an elucidation of the personal truth of the analysand; for Heidegger, interpretation works toward the explication of the ontological truth of the underlying lexical text of a written production. For both, interpretation is a method of disclosing: the unspoken in the inscribed text (Heidegger) and the 'unspeakable' of the analysand's personal history (Freud). Disclosure by means of paratactic interpretation has as its aim a clearer hearing of what the verbal expressions of the analysand/author mean. Such interpretation requires the neutrality of listening, which is paradigmatic for psychoanalytic technique and is illustrated further by the importance placed on silence (the 'spaces' between the words) as well as upon what is uttered, in the analytic setting or in a paratactically transformed written text.

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