David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophical Psychology 20 (3):375 – 392 (2007)
The recent interest in neuroscientific psychodynamic research ('neuropsychoanalysis') has meant that empirical findings are emerging which allow greater public scrutiny of psychodynamic concepts. However, Malcolm Macmillan has claimed that the psychoanalytic cornerstone, repression, is a circular explanatory concept and incapable of referring to a "real process." This paper discusses Macmillan's criticism and finds that repression is a coherent explanatory term and is not precluded from referring to real processes. Specifically, 'neural inhibition,' triggered by social factors, can account for Freudian repression, without succumbing to circular explanation. Recent developments in neuroscience suggest that a plausible mechanism of inhibition exists, providing testable avenues for the 'cornerstone' of psychoanalysis. Evidence of the role of the frontal lobes, a brain area that appears to mediate the influence of social factors upon impulse control, demonstrates that repression is plausible within a dynamic neural framework.
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References found in this work BETA
Karl R. Popper (1989/2002). Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge. Routledge.
Jim Hopkins (1988). Epistemology and Depth Psychology. In C. Wright & P. Clark (eds.), Mind, Psychoanalysis, and Science. Blackwell
Citations of this work BETA
Simon Boag (2011). Explanation in Personality Psychology: “Verbal Magic” and the Five-Factor Model. Philosophical Psychology 24 (2):223-243.
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