Tuesday, March 2nd, 2004, 8:00 PM

FROM SEDUCTION FANTASY TO FAITH:
THE EVOLUTION OF FREUD’S STRUGGLE TO DISCOVER
TRUTH AND REALITY AND ITS IMPACT ON PSYCHOANALYTIC THEORIZING

presenter: Rachel Blass, Ph.D. *
discussant: Joel Whitebook, Ph.D.

From his earliest notes on seduction until his last major work on Moses and Monotheism, Freud’s theorizing regarding the nature of human reality is pervaded by experiences of both conviction and doubt. Through his “seduction theory” Freud describes how the impact of traumatic encounters with the world shapes the minds of patients and distorts their perception of realty. In the light of this potential distortion, Freud’s doubts intensified and his conviction regarding the impact of sexual trauma diminished. In contrast, in Moses and Monotheism Freud comes to a new stance which allows him to accept his theoretical convictions as true, despite a noted absence of evidence. The theoretical and personal developments that led Freud to ultimately overcome the powerful effects of doubt encountered in his earlier works are explored and the implications for the nature of psychoanalytic theorizing and epistemology are discussed.