The Multicultural Imagination is a challenging inquiry into the complex interrelationship between our ideas about race, color and the unconscious. Drawing on clinical case material, Michael Vannoy Adams argues that race is just as important as sex or any other content of the unconscious. He does not assume that racism will simply vanish if we psychoanalyze a patient, but shows how a non-defensive ego and a self-image that is receptive to other-images can move us towards a more productive discourse of (...) cultural differences. The Multicultural Imagination provokes the reader--analyst or not--to confront personally those unconscious attitudes which stand in the way of authentic multicultural relationships. (shrink)
Using a couple of Paul Watzlawick's clinical cases as a starting point, the author shows how prescriptive behavioral strategies do not produce predictable effects: the theory of (nonlinear) complex systems prevents us from establishing a precise connection between a so-called psychotherapeutic act and what we consider therapeutic effects. It is precisely the consideration of the "Lorenz attractors" that thus brings us to reconsider the long psychoanalytic work as the condition for a general structural change of subjectivity: the result of this (...) work is a change of the neurotic "strange attractor.". (shrink)
A clarification of Husserl's changing conceptions of imaginary consciousness ( phantasy ) and memory, especially at the level of auto-affective time-consciousness, suggests an interpretation of Freud's concept of the Unconscious. Phenomenology of consciousness can show how it is possible that consciousness can bring to present appearance something unconscious, that is, something foreign or absent to consciousness, without incorporating it into or subordinating it to the conscious present. This phenomenological analysis of Freud's concept of the Unconscious leads to a partial critique (...) of Freud's metapsychological determination of the Unconscious as a simple, internally unperceived representational consciousness. It also suggests an account of how a reproductive inner consciousness can free the subject from the experience of anxiety by allowing for possibilities of self-distanciation and symbolic self-representation that protect the subject from traumatic affection by and through its own instinctual drives. (shrink)
Identification figures prominently in moral psychological explanations. I argue that in identification the subject has an ‘identity-thought’, which is a thought about her numerical identity with the figure she identifies with. In Freud's psychoanalytic psychology character is founded on unconscious identification with parental figures. Moral philosophers have drawn on psychoanalysis to explain how undesirable or disadvantageous character dispositions are resistant to insight through being unconscious. According to Richard Wollheim's analysis of Freud's theory, identification is the subject's disposition to imagine, unconsciously, (...) her bodily merging with the figure she identifies with. I argue that this explanation of identification is not adequate. Human character is held to be capable of change when self-reflection brings unconscious identifications to conscious self-knowledge. I argue that for self-knowledge these identifications must be an intelligible part of the subject's self-conception, and that Wollheim's ‘merging phantasy’ is not intelligible to the subject in this way. By contrast, the subject's thought that she is numerically identical to the figure she identifies with does provide an intelligible starting-point for reflecting on this identification. This psychoanalytic account provides a clear conception of identification with which to investigate puzzle cases in the moral psychology of character. (shrink)
tries to elucidate some of the rational considerations that determine the standing and value of psychoanalysis. He is sceptical about much of the positive evidence, but he also tries to provide some support for Freudian doctrines. I examine his supporting arguments and try to show that they have serious weaknesses.
This paper attempts in the first instance to clarify the application of the personal/sub-personal distinction to psychoanalysis and to indicate how this issue is related to that of psychoanalysis" epistemology. It is argued that psychoanalysis may be regarded either as a form of personal psychology, or as a form of jointly personal and sub-personal psychology, but not as a form of sub-personal psychology. It is further argued that psychoanalysis indicates a problem with the personal/sub-personal distinction itself as understood by Dennett (...) A revised view of the distinction, which is argued to reflect its true metaphysical significance, is proposed. (shrink)
This paper consists of two related parts: I. A detailed critique of Donald Davidson's thesis-in his "The Paradoxes of Irrationality"-that "...any satisfactory [explanatory] view [of irrationality] must embrace some of Freud's most important theses" (p. 290). I argue that this conclusion is doubly flawed: (i) Davidson's case for it is logically ill-founded, and (ii) its Freudian plaidoyer is also factually false. II. Relatedly, in the second part, I confute the recent arguments given by Marcia Cavell, Thomas Nagel, et al. to (...) establish that psychoanalytic causal explanations of irrationality are epistemically justified, because they are extensions of the desire-cum-belief pattern of accounting for intentional actions. As a corollary, it becomes clear that these authors have failed to undermine my epistemological strictures on the foundations of psychoanalysis. (shrink)
The theory of repression is the cornerstone of the freudian edifice. hence this paper scrutinizes its foundations by examining freud's clinical arguments for the repression-aetiology of the psychoneuroses, and for the major causal role of repressed ideation in commiting "freudian slips", and in dreaming. the upshot of this scrutiny is that the fundamental reasoning by which freud sought to justify his theory was grievously flawed.
It has often been noted that evil – by which I mean evil in human motivation and action – is difficult to understand. We find it hard to make sense of what ‘drives’ a person to commit evil. This is not because we cannot recognise or identify with some aspect of the psychology of evil; we all experience feelings of envy, spite, cruelty, and hatred. But somehow this shared experience can seem insufficient, and we are left at a loss as (...) to how such natural, universal human motivations could have resulted in this. The aims of this paper are modest, to do no more than point in a particular direction our attempts to understand the psychology of evil. §2 is a synoptic overview of what I shall call the ‘traditional’ picture of the psychology of evil. In §3, I argue that this picture is explanatorily inadequate. §§4-6 develop the traditional picture by suggesting some resources drawn from psychoanalytic theory that can meet the explanatory challenge. My argument here is schematic, seeking only to motivate a research project. It would take a much longer exploration of these resources, providing far more psychological detail, to work out what can rightfully be called an account of the psychology of evil. §7 situates the psychology of evil in relation to ‘normal’ psychology by noting the positive functions of mental processes involved in the psychology of evil. (shrink)
The idea that love is one of the most fundamental forces in the world, if not the most fundamental force, has a long and influential history. But does the idea of a fundamental connection between love and reality have a future? Can it hold any meaning for us if, for example, we do not believe in God? I want to offer some speculative thoughts that it can, thoughts that derive from a philosophical reflection on psychoanalysis. My central claim is that (...) love reveals and points us toward reality, that to exist ‘for us’, reality has to depend on love. (shrink)
This paper argues that self-deception cannot be explained without employing a depth-psychological ("psychodynamic") notion of the unconscious, and therefore that mainstream academic psychology must make space for such approaches. The paper begins by explicating the notion of a dynamic unconscious. Then a brief account is given of the "paradoxes" of self-deception. It is shown that a depth-psychological self of parts and subceptive agency removes any such paradoxes. Next, several competing accounts of self-deception are considered: an attentional account, a constructivist account, (...) and a neo-Sartrean account. Such accounts are shown to face a general dilemma: either they are able only to explain unmotivated errors of self-perception--in which case they are inadequate for their intended purpose--or they are able to explain motivated self-deception, but do so only by being instantiation mechanisms for depth-psychological processes. The major challenge to this argument comes from the claim that self-deception has a "logic" different to other-deception--the position of Alfred Mele. In an extended discussion it is shown that any such account is explanatorily adequate only for some cases of self-deception--not by any means all. Concluding remarks leave open to further empirical work the scope and importance of depth-psychological approaches. (shrink)
This essay examines the similarities and dissimilarities between Freudian psychoanalysis and the form of analysis outlined by Sartre in Being and Nothingness in relation to the theory of inten- tionality developed by Brentano and Husserl. The principal aim of the paper is to establish a suitable starting point for a dialogue between these two forms of analysis, whose respective terminologies with respect to consciousness and the unconscious appear to cancel one another out.