This course explores the unconscious act by examining theories of repetition put forth by psychoanalysts and philosophers over time. To understand the mechanisms at work, we first review Freud’s writings on the unconscious, as well as his theories of remembering, repeating, and working through unconscious material. We survey philosophers who came before him who arguably influenced his thinking, including Nietzsche and Schopenhauer.
Students then will examine theories of the unconscious and repetition in Lacan and Deleuze, and expound upon them via philosophers of the Ljubljana school. We discuss the act in theater and film and the ways in which unconscious dynamics are mirrored and re-enacted therein. We conclude by reviewing modern writings on the unconscious in the digital age, bringing psychoanalytic philosophy to the present day as we look at the ways in which psychoanalytic thinking may help us understand our current culture, as well as conversely how the digital age allows for a better understanding of psychoanalytic theory and practice.