Time in Psychoanalysis: Some Contradictory Aspects

Time in Psychoanalysis: Some Contradictory Aspects

Time in Psychoanalysis: Some Contradictory Aspects

Time is a traditional theme in philosophy and a fundamental theme in psychoanalysis. The wealth of studies devoted to the former contrasts strikingly with their scarcity in the latter. Over more than 40 years, Freud elaborated different hypotheses on the conception of time in psychoanalysis. His speculations contained numerous different aspects: a developmental point of view (the libido theory) involving fixations and regressions, the process of “retroaction”, dreams as a form of indirect recollection, the timelessness of the unconscious, the function played by primal phantasies in categorizing experience and, finally, repetition compulsion. His investigations ultimately led him to the concept of historical truth which, unfortunately, has since been neglected. Taken together, these hypotheses form a complex theory of temporality, a genuine diachronic heterogeneity, justifying its description as “fragmented time”. In this book, the author sets out to restore the full richness of a theory which contemporary psychoanalysis has progressively tended to simplify with the aim of taming it and returning to a linear, homogenous conception of time.

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