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Gyimesi, J. (2009). The Problem of Demarcation: Psychoanalysis and the Occult. Am. Imago, 66(4):457-470.

(2009). American Imago, 66(4):457-470

The Problem of Demarcation: Psychoanalysis and the Occult

Júlia Gyimesi

The aim of this article is to outline some aspects of the problem of demarcation in the early history of psychoanalysis, as it pertains to the growing interest in occult phenomena. The nineteenth-century scientific interest in occult phenomena played a fundamental role in the history of psychoanalysis since the examination of the occult called attention to the possible dissociation of the psyche. The theories of subconscious or subliminal tendencies were strongly connected with such dissociation. Psychoanalysis had a special significance in this context since it offered a medicalized, rational-logical explanation of the unconscious. Therefore, the Freudian concept of the unconscious could split off the spiritualist or transcendent meaning of the subconscious tendencies and meet the demands of medical materialism with the theory of sexuality.

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