Past Event

"Working Backwards:
"Backwards Causation"and the Temporality of the Unconscious in Pre-Freudian Dream Theory"

Jake Fraser, Ph.D.

The appearance of Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams in 1899 is often thought to have launched a 20th-century fascination with dreams and the unconscious mind. Yet Freud's work (and the use of dreams to draw conclusions about unconscious thought processes) is also the culmination of a now forgotten 19th-century tradition. Under the heading of “working backwards”, this talk aims to explore the time (or times) of the unconscious in Freudian dream theory and its 19th-century predecessors. Freud's Interpretation of Dreams can be said to be concerned with 'working backwards' and the temporality of the unconscious in at least three senses: 1) the temporality of analysis (the analyst works backwards from remembered dream content to latent thoughts in the unconscious); 2) the temporality of cultural & cognitive evolution (through the study of dream logic, one can uncover the forms of ‘primitive’ thought characteristic of infants and early humans) 3) the temporality of the 'psychic apparatus' itself (for dreams to occur, the normal directionality of the Pcpt-Unc.-Preconscious-Conscious schema must be inverted, i.e. the mind itself works backward in dreaming). After briefly glossing these, I want to “work backwards” from Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams to earlier 19th-century German theories of dreaming and the unconscious, showing how Freud builds upon and transforms this tradition’s understanding of unconscious temporality. In particular, my focus will be on the earlier era’s discussion (treated at length by 19th-century intellectual titans like Schopenhauer, Helmholtz, and Nietzsche) of dreams and “backwards causation”, the notion that unconscious thought processes are characterized by positing imaginary past causes for presently perceived effects. Understanding this phenomenon, and the kinds of issues it raised about the present’s role in reconstructing its own past, should shed new light on fundamental concerns of psychoanalytic practice and theory, from Freud to Laplanche and Lacan.


Zoom (link forthcoming)
Online

Saturday, February 5, 2022

10:00 AM - 12:00 PM


JakeJake Fraser, Ph.D.Jake Fraser received his PhD in Germanic Studies from the University of Chicago, and is now assistant professor of German and Comparative Literature at Reed College. He specializes in late 18th-early 20th century German literature and philosophy, with emphases in philosophies of time and history and in the history of science and technology. He has published on the intersections of time, memory, and action in authors ranging from Heinrich von Kleist and Franz Kafka to Friedrich Nietzsche and Claude Lévi-Strauss. He is currently working on a book project tentatively entitled The Present's Past: Memory Media and the Afterlives of Events, a study of the ways in which new media technologies—from the daily paper to the computer simulation—gave rise to new theories and experiences of time and memory.

Future Events

Coming soon


Past Events

Saturday, April 30, 2022

"Psychoanalysis: the Contemporary Scene from an Editor's View"
Murray Schwartz


Saturday, February 5, 2022

"Working Backwards: "Backwards Causation"and the Temporality of the Unconscious in Pre-Freudian Dream Theory"
Jake Fraser, Ph.D.


Saturday, December 4, 2021

"The Significance of the Anus in Psychoanalytic Theory"
Benjamin Y. Fong, Ph.D.


Saturday, October 9, 2021

"Love, Hate and Knowledge: the Analyst’s Aesthetic Conflict"
Meg Harris Williams


Saturday, April 24, 2021

"The Analyst's Desire: The Ethical Foundation of Clinical Practice"
Mitchell Wilson, M.D.


Saturday, February 27, 2021

"Freud’s Nietzsche: Eternal Return, Symptomatic Acts and the Gay Apophrades"
Dany Nobus


Saturday, December 12, 2020

"What's uncanny in the Unheimliche?"
Sergio Benvenuto, Ph.D.


Saturday, October 31, 2020

"Roads to the Unconscious: Some Parallels and Divergences between Psychoanalysis and the Writing of Poetry"
John Hart,
Helen Schoenhals Hart,


Saturday, October 10, 2020

"Trans Realism: Psychoanalysis and the Trans Experience"
Patricia Gherovici, Ph.D.,
Grace Lavery, Ph.D.,


Saturday, April 4, 2020

"*POSTPONED* What's uncanny in the Unheimliche?"
Sergio Benvenuto, Ph.D.


Saturday, March 21, 2020

"*POSTPONED* Trans Realism, Psychoanalytic Practice, and the Rhetoric of Technique"
Grace Lavery, Ph.D.


Saturday, January 25, 2020

"Creativity and the Erotic Dimensions of the Analytic Field"
Dianne Elise, Ph.D.


Saturday, November 23, 2019

"Mama, Mnemo - Reading Kristeva with Montale"
Benjamin Davidson, Ph.D.


Saturday, October 12, 2019

"The Maternal: Psychoanalysis, Literature and Film"
Claire Kahane, Ph.D.,
Marilyn Fabe, Ph.D.,


Saturday, April 13, 2019

"Light Rooms: Medium, Mourning and Mania"
Elizabeth Abel, Ph.D.


Saturday, January 26, 2019

"From Freud's Mourning to Mourning Freud"
Madelon Sprengnether, Ph.D.


Saturday, December 1, 2018

"Group Discussion: The Place of the Nonrepresentational and the Nonverbal in Psychoanalysis"
Margot Beattie, Ph.D.,
Israel Katz, MD,


Saturday, October 20, 2018

"Freud's Seduction: Psychoanalysis and California"
Fernando Castrillon, Psy.D.


Saturday, March 3, 2018

"Trans Psychoanalysis and Livable Embodiments"
Patricia Gherovici, Ph.D.


Saturday, January 27, 2018

"The Political Unconscious in Perilous Times"
Judith Butler, Ph.D.,
Lance Dodes, M.D.,
Jill Gentile, Ph.D.


Saturday, October 28, 2017

"Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg: The Dream World of Wagner"
Steven H. Golderg, MD,
Jeanne C. Harasemovitch, LCSW,


Saturday, October 7, 2017

"Incandescent Alphabets: Language and Art in Psychosis"
Annie G. Rogers, Ph.D.


Saturday, May 20, 2017

"Homeland (In)Security: How Feminine Law Might Rescue Democracy, Truth and Free Speech"
Jill Gentile, Ph.D.


Sunday, March 26, 2017

"Enigmatic Mechanisms: Some Reflections on Love, Affect, and Identification in Freud"
Marcus Coelen, Ph.D


Saturday, March 18, 2017

"Refashioning Jouissance/Enjoyment for the Age of the Imaginary"
Juliet Flower MacCannell, Ph.D.


Saturday, January 28, 2017

"Freud and the Frankfurt School"
Martin E. Jay, Ph.D.


Saturday, October 29, 2016

"Thinking About The Future"
Christopher Bollas, Ph.D.


Saturday, September 24, 2016

"Death Drive Dialogue #2"
Henry Markman, MD,
Israel Katz, MD,


Saturday, May 21, 2016

"Psychoanalytic Knowledge"
Peter Hobson, Ph.D.


Saturday, April 23, 2016

"The Alterability of the Memory Trace"
Rosaura Martinez, Ph.D.


Saturday, April 2, 2016

"Conversion Disorder: Freud, religious transformation, Foucault and Agamben"
Jamieson Webster, Ph.D.


Saturday, March 26, 2016

"Surviving Terror: An Interview with Ernst Federn"
Helen Schoenhals Hart, Dr.med.


Saturday, October 17, 2015

"Rosa Luxemburg and Marilyn Monroe: Women in Depressed Times"
Jacqueline Rose


Saturday, May 9, 2015

"Keeping the Other Alive: Counter-trends to the Death Drive"
Judith Butler, Ph.D.


Monday, March 30, 2015

"Cultivating the Foreigner Within: Julia Kristeva and Hannah Arendt on Uncanny Art and Human Relations in the Contemporary World"
Elaine Miller, Ph.D.


Saturday, January 31, 2015

"Enduring Inequality: Racism in America"
Jeffrey Prager, Ph.D.



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