Wittgenstein: Philosophy, Postmodernism, Pedagogy

By Michael Peters; James Marshall | Go to book overview

6
Wittgenstein, Freud, and Dreams: Une Façon de Parler

Freud is to coin the term "psychoanalysis," but his earlier medical training was in neurology, and he was to move to psychology and to work with the psychologist Joseph Breuer on the use of hypnosis in treating hysteria. In 1895 they published together, but already by then Freud was developing the idea of free association. It was this notion that was crucial for the development of psychoanalysis ( Miller, 1966, p. 254). It was also to raise the ire of Wittgenstein, and as practiced, of Foucault ( 1980a).

According to Wittgenstein, Freud"wanted to find some one explanation which would show what dreaming is. He wanted to find the essence of dreaming" ( Wittgenstein, 1973, p. 82). To this extent Freud had scientific ambitions, but these were to be exercised in a positivistic manner, and on his own positivistic grounds he was found wanting. On this latter point Wittgenstein is not the only critic of Freud. The critical work for understanding Wittgenstein's criticisms of Freud is The Interpretation of Dreams ( Freud, 1932).


FREUD AND THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS

Freud begins The Interpretation of Dreams by claiming that "there is a psychological technique which makes it possible to interpret dreams" (p. 19), lamenting almost immediately, that "in spite of thousands of years of endeavour, little progress has been made in the scientific understanding of dreams" (p. 19). The science to which Freud was committed, theoretically or in principle, was positivistic and he was to postulate a positivistic

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