What is the course about?
Are human beings rational or irrational creatures? Can we be unconscious of some of our own beliefs, desires and intentions? Is there a scientific explanation of human suffering? This course compares philosophical and psychoanalytic answers to these questions.
What will we cover?
The course will introduce you to classical psychoanalytic theory, including Freud’s theory of sexuality and the technique of dream interpretation (“the royal road to the unconscious”), to revisions in the work of other psychoanalysts, including Melanie Klein and Jacques Lacan, and to philosophers who seem to have influenced Freud, including Schopenhauer and Nietzsche. We will also look at philosophical criticisms of psychoanalysis, including those of the philosophy of science and those of post-modern theory. Other thinkers discussed on the course may include Popper, Marcuse, Deleuze and Guattari.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
• Explain some basic classical psychoanalytic theory
• Critically discuss differences between the theories of Freud and other psychoanalysts, especially Klein and Lacan
• Assess philosophical objections to psychoanalysis.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
Though some students may have completed other philosophy courses at the City Lit or elsewhere, no previous study of philosophy or psychoanalysis is presupposed. There will be some reading each week and some of the texts will be challenging; but you will not expected to be able to read them with confidence. The main focus of the course will be on class discussion.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Sessions will consists of lecture-style presentations and structured discussion. For those students who wish to use it, there will be a dedicated website with extra materials, including forums for continuing the discussion online.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
All course materials will be provided by the tutor or available free of charge online.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Day-time philosophy courses starting in May include HP034 Philosophy and the self, HP010 Understanding the modern world and HP096 Philosophies of modernism. For our philosophy offer, please check our website at www.citylit.ac.uk.