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Title: Dream construction, deconstruction : what a re-reading of Freud on dreams can tell us about the structure of the unconscious and its relationship to deconstruction
Author: Cunliffe, Joshua John
ISNI:       0000 0004 7967 9043
Awarding Body: Birkbeck, University of London
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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In this thesis, I argue that a deconstructive approach to Freudian dream-work gives new perspective on how meaning is generated in the mind. Using that perspective I develop a new metaphor for mind, and an accompanying theory of meaning. I argue that The Interpretation of Dreams suffered from assumptions about the nature of consciousness issuing from attachment to a 'metaphysics of presence'. This inhibited the development of metapsychology, putting concepts such as the unconscious, phantasy and repression on an unstable basis and contributing to the subsequent development of psychoanalysis in a fragmented manner. It also prevented Freud from reaching valuable philosophical conclusions about the relationship of the unconscious to consciousness. Existing literature has examined Derrida's approach to Freud but this has found application primarily in fields such as literary and critical theory: far less attention has been paid to the potential clinical implications of a deconstructive reading of Freud, or the possibilities for a revised theory of mind. Extending Derrida's delineation of Freud's metaphors for mind, I suggest a new metaphor, based on the method of Fractal Image Compression used to store images digitally. I claim this updated version of Freud's 'mystic writing pad' enables us to conceptualize how the mind processes experience to produce meaning based on structures of difference, thereby providing a challenge to traditional representational theories of mind. This model of the mind provides a conceptual frame within which psychoanalytic theories can be evaluated and brought into conversation with each other. I use it as a tool to test different theories of dream interpretation, analysing a dream of my own. I then demonstrate how we can employ it to critically evaluate different psychoanalytic schools of thought by showing how my account supports and extends Bion's notion of 'dream-work-alpha', and challenges Lacan's ideas about language and the unconscious.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available