Write an essay of 2000 words on one of the following topics.
The essay is due before midnight Sunday 23 April. Otherwise it will change into a pumpkin. Oh, and marks will be deducted also.
Use Freud’s work as your primary source on Freud’s views. Do not discuss Freud’s views via secondary sources, which should only be used for guidance in your reading and for discussion and critique in your essay.
1 Explain Freud’s claim that every dream is the disguised fulfilment of a wish. Is the claim true of all dreams, without exception? How does Freud explain the apparent exceptions? How plausible is his explanation?
2 Explain Freud’s theory of the dream work and examine the criticisms made of it.
In answering questions 1 or 2, you might want to think about the following concepts: condensation, displacement, primary process, secondary process, repression, the censor, return of the repressed. Not every concept listed here need appear in your essay; nor is this an exhaustive list.
Freud’s relevant writings are these: Introductory Lectures, Lectures 5 – 15, ‘On Dreams’, The Interpretation of Dreams, The Psychopathology of Everyday Life, Beyond the Pleasure Principle. Further useful references are Lear, Freud, chaps 1, 3 and 5. Stepansky, Freud: Appraisals and reappraisals. Fine, Freud: A Critical Introduction, chap. 4. Look also at Readings for Freud and Philosophy under Additional Resources.
3 “Symptoms express the sexual life of neurotics.” Explain what Freud means by this and how it relates to the claim that symptoms have a meaning.
4 What are the essential features of a symptom, according to Freud? And how are symptoms formed? Critically evaluate Freud’s account.
Relevant readings are: chapters 17 – 23 of Introductory Lectures; Lear, Freud, chap. 1; Mannoni, Freud; Wollheim, Freud; Verhaeghe, On Being Normal, Pt 1.
5 Write an essay on Freud’s account of human sexuality. What does it tell us about the way humans desire?
6 Is there such a thing as ‘normal’ when it comes to sexuality? Where does Freud stand on the issue?
Relevant readings are: chapters 17 – 23 of Introductory Lectures; chap 2, Lear, Freud; chaps in Wollheim and Mannoni; Jerome Neu’s article on perversion, chap 7 in The Cambridge Companion to Freud.