Descartes' dreams

Withers, R. 2008. Descartes' dreams. Journal of Analytical Psychology. 53 (5), pp. 691-709.

TitleDescartes' dreams
AuthorsWithers, R.
Abstract

Rene Descartes is often regarded as the ‘father of modern philosophy’. He was a key figure in instigating the scientific revolution that has been so influential in shaping our modern world. He has been revered and reviled in almost equal measure for this role; on the one hand seen as liberating science from religion, on the other as splitting soul from body and man from nature. He dates the founding of his philosophical methods to the night of 10th November 1619 and in particular to three powerful dreams he had that night. This article utilizes Descartes own interpretations of the dreams, supported by biographical material, as well as contemporary neuroscientific and psychoanalytic theory to reach a new understanding of them. It is argued that the dreams can be understood as depicting Descartes personal journey from a state of mind-body dissociation to one of mind-body deintegration. This personal journey may have implications for a parallel journey from Renaissance to modern culture and from modernity to post-modern culture.

KeywordsDissociation, deintegration, reintegration, mind body relationship, trauma
JournalJournal of Analytical Psychology
Journal citation53 (5), pp. 691-709
ISSN0021-8774
YearNov 2008
PublisherBlackwell
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1111/j.1468-5922.2008.00760.x
Publication dates
PublishedNov 2008

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