Freud's Ambiguous Concepts

Journal of Speculative Philosophy 3 (2):86 - 99 (1989)

Simon Evnine
University of Miami
In this paper I propose to say something about why certain key psychoanalytic concepts, particularly that of the unconscious, are special because of a studied, and therapeutically important, ambiguity or paradoxicality which affects them. Before I examine these concepts, however, the first section of this paper discusses some of Sartre's views on psychological explanation. On the one hand, this gives me a way of introducing the dichotomy of self-evident irreducibility and existential lucidity which underlies my account of the unconscious. On the other hand, it is important because I take Sartre to be addressing, less successfully, the very same question that Freud dealt with by introducing his ambiguous concepts.
Keywords Unconscious  Freud  Sartre  Psychoanalysis
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