Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Psychoanalysis & Philosophy: Existentialism to Post-Modernism, Freud Museum, London, UK

From Heidegger and Sartre to Foucault and Lacan. An online course with Keith Barrett, taking place over two afternoons.

15 June, 1:30 pm – 16 June, 5:00 pm
£36 – £45

In the period immediately following World War II, existentialism was the leading philosophical movement in European thought, and Jean-Paul Sartre, its most famous exponent, was a colossal figure on the intellectual scene. Sartre’s aim of providing an alternative way of understanding human beings to that of Freud’s psychoanalysis, was a determining factor in the writing of his early masterpiece Being and Nothingness (1943) – in which he proposed an entirely new discipline: ‘existential psychoanalysis’. By the mid 1960’s however, Sartre was no longer the leading figure in French intellectual life: his dominant position had been taken over by others, including Michel Foucault and Jacques Lacan, who took their philosophical inspiration from his great German predecessor Martin Heidegger.

On this course we will examine in detail the relation of psychoanalysis to existentialism, and see how the growing ascendency of Heidegger’s thought drove the leading exponents of French theory beyond existentialism towards post-modernism. In the Anglo-Saxon world, meanwhile, the post-Second World War period saw the beginning of a long-running and heated debate on the scientific status of psychoanalysis, and we will review them main positions and arguments in this debate.

This course will take place over 2 days: 15 and 16 June 2023, from 13.30 – 17.00 each day (time includes a tea break). All attendees will also receive access to the recording.

Keith Barrett BA PhD received his first degree in philosophy from Oxford University after having spent three years working as a nursing assistant in psychiatric hospitals. It was in this practical context that Keith first encountered existentialism and psychoanalysis. He then began postgraduate studies on both Freud and Heidegger, leading finally to a PhD from the Wellcome Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL for a dissertation on ‘Freud’s Self-Analysis’. Keith has been a philosophy teacher for over 20 years, and has been delivering courses at the Freud Museum for over a decade, where he has developed a series of introductory lectures on Freud, psychoanalysis after Freud, and exploring the overlap of philosophy and psychoanlaysis.

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