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date: 15 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The concept of wish-fulfilment as a substitutive mode of satisfying wish or desire was one of Freud’s most important and singular psychoanalytic innovations. In his view dreams, neurotic symptoms, conscious and unconscious phantasies, delusions, hallucinations, jokes, much art, parapraxes, omnipotent thinking, illusions such as religion, the institutions of morality and social organization are all wish-fulfilling phenomena or attempts at wish-fulfilment. Although its remit is more circumscribed in contemporary psychoanalysis, wish-fulfilment can be seen to underlie such important conceptions as omnipotent phantasy, projective identification, actualization, and so on. This chapter exposes in detail Freud’s singular innovation, relates it to some recent neuroscientific work, and shows how Freud’s initial model of hallucinatory wish-fulfilment in dream and infant phantasy gratification, together with his conception of symbolism, can be extended to explain a range of symptoms as intentional behaviour, in line with Freud’s ambitious claims for wish-fulfilment’s remit.

Keywords: Freud, wish-fulfilment, symbolism, intentional action, self-solicitude

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