Freud and Neurosciences. Investigating the Dialogue between Psychoanalysis and Neurosciences
An International Symposium at the Center for Literary and Cultural Research Berlin
Conference Language: English
Psychoanalysis and Neurosciences, two disciplines which, since Freud’s lifetime, have kept themselves to themselves, started a shy dialogue again in the 1990s. This recent approach takes place agaist the following background: On the one hand, psychological phenomena are conceptualized as effects of physiological processes, therefore research focuses on neurological or biochemical indicators. On the other hand, psychological phenomena are observable and interpretable in behaviour, expressions and symptoms which indicates research of an analytical kind. Transitions and interactions between the two apporaches, however, have not yet been observed often.
Advances in brain-imaging enabled us to describe the brainanatomical and physiological complexities of illnesses and to correlate specific groups of neurons with cognitive and sensual abilities. However, investigations concerning the interferences between neurobiology and biographical experiences can be only brought forward by a joint effort. Investigations now need to focus on the neurological basis of psychoanalysis as well as on the psychological terms of neurology. Because Freud invented not only an innovative theory and method to explore individual psychological processes, but also a complex theory of culture and subjectivity, there is an additional need for research from the perspective of cultural studies. Thus, psychological processes should be investigatged in cooperation between psychoanalytical, neurological and cultural research. Where those disciplines meet we can find a real trading zone between experimental und analytical methods.
The contemporary way of looking at this problem finds its opposite in a historical constellation which can be seen as complementary: At the end of the 19th century we find the invention of psychoanalysis by the neurologist Freud, which resulted from the impossibility to localize psychological processes in physiology; more recently, we find the reinvention of psychoanalysis by neurobiology, which is, thanks to the advancements in recording techniques, able to observe and localize physio-neurological processes, but is not able to understand the language of the psyche.
If the different methodological approaches and different kinds of knowledge are accepted in their singularity and seen not only as a challenge but also as a complement, an epistemological and methodological dialogue has a chance to develop new neuro-psychoanalytical knowledge.
Friday, 29 October, 2010
Conference Opening: Sigrid Weigel (ZfL)
Psychoanalysis and Neurosciences I
Marianne Leuzinger-Bohleber (Frankfurt a.M.): Enactments in Transference: Embodiment, Trauma and Depression. What Psychoanalysis Has to Offer to Neurosciences
François Ansermet/Pierre Magistretti (Geneva/Lausanne): Neuronal Plasticity, Homeostasis and Somatic States as Key Elements for a Dialogue Between Neuroscience and Psychoanalysis
Edith Seifert (Berlin): "Die medulla oblongata ist ein sehr schönes und ernsthaftes Objekt." A Comparison of Neuroscientific and Psychoanalytical Theories
Interdisciplinary Dream Research
Heinrich Deserno (Frankfurt a. M./Berlin): Interdisciplinary Perspectives of Dream Research and Dream Interpretation
Tamara Fischmann (Frankfurt a. M.): Dreams, Unconscious Fantasies and Epigenetics
Key Note Lecture
Mark Solms (Cape Town): What Dreams Are Made Of
Saturday, 30 October, 2010
Psychoanalysis and Neurosciences II
Gérard Pommier (Paris): Importance of the Affects to Understand the Relationship between the Psychoanalytical and the Neuroscientific Point of View
Giselher Guttmann (Vienna): Neurobiology of Conscious and Unconscious Control Mechanisms
Yoram Yovell (Haifa): Drive and Love: Revisiting Freud's Drive Theory
History of Science
Ohad Parnes (ZfL): Between Neuro-Psycho-Analysis and Psycho-Neuro-Immunology: Psychology and Somatic Disease since Freud
Gerhard Scharbert (ZfL): Signs and Souls – French Psychiatry in the 19th Century and the Emergence of Psychodynamics
Epistemology, Culture and Subjectivity: "Mind the Gap"
Ulrike Kadi (Vienna): Couch Potato: Some Remarks Concerning the Body of Psychoanalysis
Christine Kirchhoff (ZfL): Serving Various Masters: How Culture Shapes the Apparatus
Georg Northoff (Toronto): How Can the Infant Called Neuropsychoanalysis Grow into a Mature Adult? Conceptual and Empirical Considerations