Advertisement

Human Studies

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 165–183 | Cite as

The Retentional and the Repressed: Does Freud's Concept of the Unconscious Threaten Husserlian Phenomenology?

  • Talia Welsh
Article

Abstract

This paper investigates the claims made by both Freudian psychoanalysic thought and Husserlian phenomenology about the unconscious. First, it is shown how Husserl incorporates a complex notion of the unconscious in his analysis of passive synthesis. With his notion of an unintentional reservoir of past retentions, Husserl articulates an unconscious zone that must be activated from consciousness in order to “come to life.” Second, it is explained how Husserl still does not account for the Freudian unconscious. Freud's unconscious could be called, in phenomenological terms, a repressed retentional zone that differs from both near and far retention. Finally, an analysis is offered for the significance of this psychoanalytic argument for phenomenology. Does phenomenology provide a complete account of the psychical life of the subject without the Freudian unconscious? Does phenomenology suggest, as is often done, that Freud's “discovery” of the unconscious is a fantastical invention? Or, does the Freudian unconscious represent a true stumbling block for phenomenology?

Keywords

Political Philosophy Modern Philosophy Complete Account Husserlian Phenomenology Complex Notion 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Brentano, Franz. (1995). Psychology from an Emprical Standpoint. Trans. Antos C. Rancurello, D.B. Terrell and Linda L. McAlister. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Fink, Eugen. (1970). Appendix VIII of The Crisis on the “Unconscious” In Edmund Husserl. The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology. Trans. David Carr. Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press. pp. 385–387.Google Scholar
  3. Freud, Sigmund. (1913). Scientific Interest in Psycho-analysis. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. Vol. XIII. Trans. James Strachey. London: The Hogarth Press.Google Scholar
  4. Freud, Sigmund. (1915a). The Unconscious. In Papers on Metapsychology. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. Vol.XIV. Trans. James Strachey. London: The Hogarth Press.Google Scholar
  5. Freud, Sigmund. (1915b). Repression. In Papers on Metapsychology. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. Vol. XIV. Trans. James Strachey. London: The Hogarth Press.Google Scholar
  6. Freud, Sigmund. (1923). The Ego and the Id. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. Vol. XIX. Trans. James Strachey. London: The Hogarth Press.Google Scholar
  7. Freud, Sigmund. (1933). Revision of the Theory of Dreams. New Introductory Lectures on Psycho-analysis. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. Vol. XXII. Trans. James Strachey. London: The Hogarth Press.Google Scholar
  8. Husserl, Edmund. (1966). Analysen zur Passiven Synthesis. In Margot Fleischer (Ed.), Husserliana Band XI. Den Haag: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.Google Scholar
  9. Husserl, Edmund. (1970). The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology. Trans. David Carr. Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Husserl, Edmund. (1980). Ideas Pertaining to a Pure Phenomenology and to a Phenomenological Philosophy. Second Book: Studies in the Phenomenology of Constitution. Trans. Richard Rojcewicz and André Schuwer. Dordrecht: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  11. Laplanche, Jean and Leclaire, Serge. (1972). The Unconscious: A Psychoanalytic Study. In French Freud: Structural Studies in Psychoanalysis. Trans. Patrick Coleman. Yale French Studies, Number 48. New Haven: YUP.Google Scholar
  12. Schöpf, Alfred. (1989). Das Problem des Unbewußten in Brentanos >>Psychologie vom empirischen Standpunkt<<. In Brentano Studien: Internationales Jahrbuch der Franz Brentanos Forschung, Band I. Dettelbach: Verlag Josef H. Röll.Google Scholar
  13. Searle, John. (1992). The Rediscovery of the Mind. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  14. Zahavi, Dan. (1999). Self-Awareness and Alterity: a Phenomenological Investigation. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Talia Welsh
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophySUNY at Stony BrookStony BrookUSA

Personalised recommendations