Unconscious transformative experience

Synthese 202 (4):1-26 (2023)
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Abstract

According to L.A. Paul, conscious experiences can be transformative. But can unconscious experiences also be transformative? After a preliminary clarification of what it means to have an unconscious experience, we marshal three cases of unconscious experiences to support the idea that unconscious experiences can be transformative: one inspired by Anna Karenina, another by a case of Freud’s, and a third by the medical condition hemispatial neglect. Such examples, we argue, suggest not only that you may have had more transformative experiences than you are aware of, but also that the sphere of the authentic subject, from a first-person perspective, outstrips what is in her consciousness at any time. A full account of transformative decision making, we suggest, must take this into consideration.

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Author Profiles

Barbara Gail Montero
CUNY Graduate Center
Sam Coleman
University of Hertfordshire

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