South African Journal of Philosophy 20 (3-4):237-257 (2001)

This paper discusses Freud's model of the psychical apparatus in the “Project”, and concludes that it is a remarkably sophisticated work which even today is still highly relevant to neuropsychological theorising. Freud rejects the notion that what happens in the brain can be clearly localised in space and time. This anticipates the notion of a distributed system found in recent developments in computing (“neural net works”) and in Derrida's conception of systems characterised by différance. Every part of such a system is constituted by its relation to the rest of the system. Although such systems are spatio-temporal, processes occur ring in them can not be pinpointed in space and time. Against the common charge that Freud has a passive hydraulic-reflex model of the psychical apparatus, the authors argue that Freud presents it as an open, complex, self-organising system. Ricoeur's (1972) claim that the model of the psychical apparatus in the “Project” is essentially solipsistic, is accordingly rejected. In conclusion the authors explain why they prefer the model in the “Project” to the more linear model found in Ch. VII of the Traumdeutung. S. Afr. J. Philos. Vol.20(3) 2001: 1- 21
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DOI 10.4314/sajpem.v20i3.31326
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