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Petocz, A. (2006). Commentary on “Freudian Dream Theory, Dream Bizarreness, and the Disguise-Censor Controversy”. Neuropsychoanalysis, 8(1):48-53.

(2006). Neuropsychoanalysis, 8(1):48-53

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

Agnes Petocz

Short-Changed on The Freudian Metaphors

I applaud Boag for his attempt to redirect the dream debate to its unresolved conceptual issues. In the fifty years or so since Wittgenstein attributed the “confusion and barrenness” of psychology to its containing “experimental methods and conceptual confusion” (1953, p. 234), little has changed. Lip service is paid, yet conceptual analysis is regarded with suspicion and contempt, a useless and obstructive relic of psychology's philosophical roots. The result is that confusions persist—and the dream debate, clearly, has its fair share.

Boag's aim is “to clarify the role of repression in dreaming and its contribution to dream bizarreness” and thereby resolve “certain contradictions and inconsistencies between the neurological evidence and Freudian dream theory.” His clarification consists in pointing to “two competing accounts” of repression in Freud's theory—the active-agent censor view, and the competing-drives motivational conflict view—only the second of which, he argues, is both conceptually sound and consistent with the neurophysiological evidence.

There are three strong points in Boag's paper. However, his case would have been more convincing if he had developed each point further than he does.

First, Boag does a service to the debate by drawing attention to the work of Maze on the combination of psychoanalysis and a realist theory of mind (Maze, 1983), on the importance of the instinctual drive-based motivational source of the ego (Maze, 1987, 1993), and on problems in the concept of repression and proposals for their resolution (Maze & Henry, 1996).

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