Towards a Phenomenology of Repression
Husserlian Reply to the Freudian Challenge
Stockholm Studes in Philosophy No. 34

By Nicholas Smith
December 2010
Stockholm University Press
Distributed by Coronet Books
ISBN: 9789186071554
342 pages
$137.50 Paper original

This is the first book-length philosophical study of Husserl's transcendental phenomenology and Freud's theory of the unconscious. It investigates the possibility for phenomenology to clarify the unconscious, focussing on the theory of repression. Repression is the unconscious activity of pushing something away from consciousness, while it remains active as something foreign within us. How this is possible is the main problem addressed in the work. Unlike previous literature (Ricoeur, Merleau-Ponty and Derrida) all the resources of genetic phenomenology are employed. The central argument is that the lebendige Gegenwart as the core of Husserl's theory of passivity consists of preliminary forms of kinaesthesia, feelings and drives in a constant process where repression occurs as a necessary part of all constitution. The clarification of repression thus consists in showing how it presupposes a broad conception of consciousness such as that presented by Husserl. By arguing that "repression" is central to any philosophical account of subjectivity, this book takes on the most distinct challenge posed by Freud.


Return to Coronet Books main page