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Sandford, S. (2017). Freud, Bion and Kant: Epistemology and Anthropology in The Interpretation of Dreams. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 98(1):91-110.

(2017). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 98(1):91-110

Interdisciplinary Paper

Freud, Bion and Kant: Epistemology and Anthropology in The Interpretation of Dreams

Stella Sandford

(Accepted for publication 30 March 2016)

This interdisciplinary article takes a philosophical approach to The Interpretation of Dreams, connecting Freud to one of the few philosophers with whom he sometimes identified - Immanuel Kant. It aims to show that Freud's theory of dreams has more in common with Bion's later thoughts on dreaming than is usually recognized. Distinguishing, via a discussion of Kant, between the conflicting ‘epistemological’ and ‘anthropological’ aspects of The Interpretation of Dreams, it shows that one specific contradiction in the book - concerning the relation between dream-work and waking thought - can be understood in terms of the tension between these conflicting aspects. Freud reaches the explicit conclusion that the dream-work and waking thought differ from each other absolutely; but the implicit conclusion of The Interpretation of Dreams is quite the opposite. This article argues that the explicit conclusion is the result of the epistemological aspects of the book; the implicit conclusion, which brings Freud much closer to Bion, the result of the anthropological approach. Bringing philosophy and psychoanalysis together this paper thus argues for an interpretation of The Interpretation of Dreams that is in some ways at odds with the standard view of the book, while also suggesting that aspects of Kant's ‘anthropological’ works might legitimately be seen as a precursor of psychoanalysis.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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