Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Paul Ricoeur on Overdetermination - Dictionary of Arguments

I 105
Overdetermination/Freud/Ricoeur: [the works of displacement and condensation (>Terminology/Freud, >Interpretation of Dreams/Ricoeur)] testify in the realm of meaning, an overdetermination that appeals to >interpretation. One can say of every element of dream content that it proves to be overdetermined, "as multiple in
I 106
represent the idea of dreams"(1). This overdetermination also dominates, although in a different way, dream condensation and dream displacement; for condensation (>Terminology/Freud) this is obvious: here it is necessary to work out and explicate the variety of meanings through free association. But the displacement, which affects the psychological intensities more than the number of performances, requires no less overdetermination; to create new valences, to shift the accents, to shift the intensities, the displacement must follow the path of overdetermination.(2)
Freud: The idea now suggests itself that in dream work, a psychic power expresses itself, which on the one hand strips the psychologically valuable elements of their intensity, and on the other hand, by way of overdetermination, creates new valences from inferior ones, which then reach the content of the dream. If this is the case, a transfer and displacement of the psychological intensities of the individual elements has taken place during the formation of the dream, as a result of which the textual difference between dream content and dream thoughts appears. This process, which we support in this way, is the very essence of dream work: it deserves the name of dream displacement.Traumverschiebung (displacement) and Traumverdichtung (condensation) are the two masters to whose activity we may primarily ascribe the creation of the dream.(3)
Ricoeur: So there is the same relation between "overdetermination" (or "multiple determination") and the work of displacement or condensation as there is between sense and force. >Regression/Ricoeur.

1. S. Freud, GW II/III, 289.
2. Ibid, 313.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Ricoeur I
Paul Ricoeur
De L’interprétation. Essai sur Sigmund Freud
German Edition:
Die Interpretation. Ein Versuch über Freud Frankfurt/M. 1999

Ricoeur II
Paul Ricoeur
Interpretation theory: discourse and the surplus of meaning Fort Worth 1976

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