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Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 23, Issue 2, 2013

Transcendental Philosophy in the 21St Century

Andrzej Leder
Pages 55-72
DOI: 10.5840/du20132325

Strangeness and Unity. Freud and the Kantian Condition of Synthetic Unity of Apperception

The text considers the possibility of studying the Freudian psychoanalysis as a certain form of transcendentalism. In particular, it analyses the relation of Freud’s proposition concerning the strangeness within the subject—a strangeness called unconsciousness—to Kant’s claim about the necessity of the synthetic unity of apperception. The study commences with Ricoeur’s reading of Freud’s teachings in order to demonstrate how, by introducing the language of transcendental philosophy into the reading of Freud’s works, Ricoeur omits the issue of the subjective conditions for the constitution of any possible meaning. Next, searching for the possibility to formulate these conditions on the grounds of Freudian psychoanalysis, the text investigates relevant Heidegger’s reading of Kant. It finds in it the model justification for such understanding of the unity of “I think” which makes it, already at its core, conditioned by diversity identified with temporality. By attempting to grasp the contradiction between such a temporal condition for subjectivity and Freud’s postulate on the timeless nature of unconsciousness, the text applies Derrida’s criticism of the metaphysical conception of time, which is directed exactly at Heidegger’s metaphysics of Dasein. In consequence, it turns out that a profound justification seems to exist for the seemingly paradoxical Freudian statement about unconsciousness as linked with, on the one hand, the most primal intuitions still grounded in animism, and on the other, with a continuation of Kant’s teachings.

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