How should we understand the psychoanalytic unconscious?

In Richard Gipps & Michael Lacewing (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Psychoanalysis. Oxford, UK: pp. 407-432 (2019)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
I review the debate between ‘realist’ and ‘constructivist’ understandings of the psychoanalytic unconscious. To oversimplify, realists hold that unconscious mental states exist in the analysand’s mind fully formed and with determinate intentional content, independent of consciousness, and these are discovered in analysis. Constructivists (including relationalists and intersubjectivists) hold that the unconscious meaning of clinical material does not exist ‘pre-organised’ in the analysand’s mind, but is constructed, not discovered, through the analytic relationship. I argue that the debate is multiply confused. For example, different meanings of ‘psychoanalysis’ and ‘constructivism’ are at play, and a number of central arguments rest on misunderstandings of complex philosophical positions concerning the status of science and the nature of human knowledge. Once these confusions are removed, an understanding of the psychoanalytic unconscious that retains the strengths of both realism and constructivism presents itself.
Categories
PhilPapers/Archive ID
LACHSW
Revision history
Archival date: 2019-07-04
View upload history
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Added to PP index
2019-07-04

Total views
33 ( #39,301 of 43,752 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
33 ( #21,151 of 43,752 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.