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Mackay, N. (2006). Commentary on “Freudian Dream Theory, Dream Bizarreness, and the Disguise-Censor Controversy”. Neuropsychoanalysis, 8(1):40-42.

(2006). Neuropsychoanalysis, 8(1):40-42

Commentary on “Freudian Dream Theory, Dream Bizarreness, and the Disguise-Censor Controversy” Related Papers

Nigel Mackay

Missing: The Key to the Executive Suite

I am in broad agreement with Simon Boag's position on the matters that trouble Freud's dream theory, with the corresponding weakness of arguments that claim that the neurobiological evidence destroys it, and with the direction of his proposed solutions. I want to make some amplifying comments on one or two of what I think are Boag's important themes because, if I have a criticism of the paper, it is that he understates his case, leaving implicit some points that could have been made explicitly, even bluntly.

The most general point is that in the world of cognitive neuroscience where the dream-theory debate is taking place, the sophistication of the empirical research is matched only by its conceptual muddles. And, as Boag illustrates in his discussion of the contradictions in the concept of the censor (because this is what I think is the real force of his analysis), these confuse the debate and obscure possible solutions. As the doubtfully coherent name cognitive neuroscience suggests, many of the debates in the area are troubled by the failure of the contributors to distinguish conceptual from empirical problems and to realize fully that in the evaluation of any substantive theory and its evidence priority must go to the logical test of the theory's propositions: “A logically flawed theory is untenable a priori, and observational data are irrelevant to the support or jettisoning of any theory which is logically flawed” (Sutcliffe, 1993, p.

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