Philosophy and Psychoanalysis in dialogue

October 17, 2014 - October 18, 2014
Heythrop College, University of London

Senate House
United Kingdom


  • Institute of Philosophy
  • Institute of Psychoanalysis

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Philosophy and Psychoanalysis in dialogue

Chancellors Hall, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

17-18 October 2014

A conference co-sponsored by

Heythrop College, London

Institute of Psychoanalysis

Institute of Philosophy

The dialogue between psychoanalysis and philosophy has been ongoing since the former’s beginnings. The critical disputes over the epistemology and methodology of psychoanalysis are perhaps most well known. Is psychoanalysis a science? Can it be regarded a distinct body of knowledge about the mind, and if so what kind of knowledge is this? But, especially in recent decades, philosophers and psychoanalysts have embarked on more constructive and focused enterprises.

Psychoanalysis developed and matured both theoretically and clinically over the course of the twentieth century. It offers a realistic, workable model, with central theses about unconscious motivation and phantasy, and an extended vocabulary of mental concepts, and has become well-grounded in experimental and clinical psychology. In part for this reason, philosophers have become increasingly interested in exploring the way psychoanalytic constructs can help resolve fundamental philosophical questions about self-knowledge, mental activity, aesthetic and religious experience, interpersonal relations and ethics.

Conversely, psychoanalysis has unmistakably been influenced by philosophy. Historically, the key psychoanalytic ideas of unconscious mentation and the interpersonal constitution of the subject owe a heavy debt to German idealist thinkers. More recently, psychoanalysts have benefitted both from conceptual refinements offered by analytic philosophers and from social and historical theorising by philosophers working in continental traditions.

The goal of this conference is to reinforce this growing, constructive web of interactions, and to foster novel interchanges between psychoanalysis and philosophy. It brings together prominent scholars and practising analysts with overlapping concerns, whose work can advance our understanding of the ways philosophy and psychoanalysis may each be informed and enriched by the other.


Through five panels over two days, and a keynote address by Jonathan Lear, psychoanalysts and philosophers will consider issues in the 

  • empirical evidence base for psychoanalysis
  • religious experience
  • ethics
  • the mind, and 
  • aesthetics and emotion.


Beverley Clack (Oxford Brookes)

John Cottingham (Heythrop College, Reading)

Katalin Farkas (Central European University)

James Hopkins (King’s College London, UCL)

Michael Lacewing (Heythrop College)

Adam Leite (Indiana)

Jenefer Robinson (Cincinnati)


Morris Eagle (Adelphi, New York, Los Angeles Institute and Society for Psychoanalytic Studies)

Mary Target (UCL)

David Black (British Psychoanalytical Society)

Margaret Rustin (British Psychoanalytical Society, Tavistock)

Bennett Simon (Harvard, Boston Psychoanalytic Society)

Edna O’Shaughnessy (British Psychoanalytical Society, Tavistock)

Francis Grier (British Psychoanalytical Society)

Jeremy Lewison (former head curator of Tate)


Full fee: £120

Institute of Philosophy members: £60

Student/trainee: £30

To book tickets, please contact:

Marjory Goodall, The Institute of Psychoanalysis, Byron House, 112a Shirland Road, London W9 2BT. 

Email: [email protected] 

Phone: 020 7563 5016 

For further information, including the full programme, please visit

  For enquiries, please contact Michael Lacewing: [email protected]

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