The World Explored, the World Suffered Education Issue Nr. 6 May 2018 - Page 19

Introduction to Philosophy: Plato, part two: the logos and grammar of “Eros” Paul Ricoeur in his work “Freud and Philosophy; An Essay on Interpretation” comments on the importance of Language in any investigation of Freudian ideas in the following way: “It seems to me that there is an area today where all philosophical investigations cur across one another—the use of language. Language is the common meeting ground of Wittgenstein’s investigations, the English linguistic philosophy, the phenomenology that stems from Husserl, Heidegger’s investigations, the works of the Bultmannian school and of the other schools of New Testament Exegesis: the works of comparative history of religion and ot anthropology concerning myth, ritual and belief—and finally psychoanalysis. Today we are in search of a comprehensive philosophy of language to account for the multiple functions of the human act of signifying and for their interrelationships. How can language be put to such diverse uses as mathematics and myth, physics and art…? We have at our disposal a symbolic logic, an exegetical science, an anthropology and a psychoanalysis and, perhaps for the first time we are able to encompass in a single question the problem of the unification of human discourse.” Ricoeur goes on to suggest that “psychoanalysis is a leading participant in any general discussion about language” and reminds us that Freud’s writings after the publication of “The Interpretation of Dreams” had serious cultural intent, ranging over art, morality, and religion. Ricoeur highlights dreams in the context of a claim that “as a man of desires I go forth in disguise” and it is this statement that we are going to explore in relation to the mythical figure of Eros which occurs both in Plato’s and Freud’s writings. A dream is a work of desire. The language of desire is also partly a work of desire and both works require interpretation. This commonality of structure is important when we are confronted with the hermeneutical problems of the meaning of a dream and the meaning of a text like Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”. Freud was clearly influenced by Plato in his final phase of theorizing in which he refers to the formation of culture in terms of the “battle of the giants”, Eros and Thanatos, and one wonders what the exact source of his inspiration was. Was it the sustained exploration of Justice and The Good in the Republic or was it the speeches given in honour of “Eros” in the work entitled “The Symposium”? The reports that dreamers gave in Freud’s clinic use a primitive language of desire with a complex structure of double meaning(Ricoeur) which we also find in mythology—the realm in which Eros and Thanatos dwell, although insofar as mythology is intending in its narrative to present a theory of the beginning and