From Descartes to Spinoza and Kant

22 and 23 April 2021, from 14.00 – 17.20 BST
Institute of Psychoanalysis, UK


This is the first of four courses exploring psychoanalysis and philosophy. The courses will be accessible to beginners – but are also designed for those already familiar with these theories who wish to acquaint themselves with the results of the latest research and scholarship, and update themselves on the recent debates addressing the intellectual issues and controversies surrounding it.Psychoanalysis has its roots in the Enlightenment – a cultural movement based on belief in the possibility of progress through reason, which grew out of the seventeenth century scientific revolution – and in the Romantic reaction against the Enlightenment, emphasising the importance of feeling and the irrational in human life, which began to gain momentum in the second half eighteenth century. This course will focus on three philosophers who were central in articulating the Enlightenment vision, in bringing it to its highest expression, and in pointing forward to the Romantic revolt against to it. We will trace their continuing influence on psychoanalysis today and explore the way psychoanalysis itself arose from a fusion of the Enlightenment tradition of rationality and science with the deep human insight of Romanticism.