Philosophers are increasingly coming to recognize the importance of Freudian theory for the understanding of the mind. The picture Freud presents of the mind's growth and organization holds implications not just for such perennial questions as the relation of mind and body, the nature of memory and personal identity, the interplay of cognitive and affective processes in reasoning and acting, but also for the very way in which these questions are conceived and an interpretation of the mind is sought. This (...) volume of essays, by some of today's leading philosophers, explores all these topics, as well as the methods, results and status of the theory itself, while two 'classical' discussions by Wittgenstein and Sartre are also included. A number of the contributions – those by Donald Davidson, W. D. Hart, Jim Hopkins, Adam Morton, David Pears and Richard Wollheim – have not been published before, and a very useful bibliography is provided. It is an anthology that will be vital to anyone interested in Freudian theory and, more generally, in philosophical psychology. (shrink)
This (1982) essay sets out the claim that psychoanalysis is a cogent extension of the intuitive common sense psychology by which we naturally understand human action. In this psychology explanation proceeds by relating actions to the logically and causally cohering desires and beliefs of agents. As Freud showed, this kind of explanation is systematically deepened and extended by the explanation of dreams, the symptoms of mental disorder, and other related phenomena via the Freudian concept of wish fulfilment, which was later (...) extended to the more inclusive post-Freudian concept of phantasy. In this extension everyday actions, such as Freud's writing up his patient Irma's case history on the day before his dream of Irma's injection, are seen to be rooted in the same unconscious motives as are represented as fulfilled in dreams and symptoms -- e.g., in this case, by unconscious stirrings of deep guilt on the topic of injection, of which Freud was unaware until he analysed the dream. As this illustrates, the understanding of wishfulfilments and other formations of phantasy enables us fill out our account of agents and their actions by adding a stock of previously unacknowledged desires and modes of expression of desire. These are seen to cohere with, and also to deepen, our previous understanding: after understanding Freud's dream, we also have a deeper and firmer (and so more cogent) understanding of his behaviour on the previous day. In this way Freud effected an extension of our everyday mode of understanding that was cogent, cumulative, and radical, as illustrated further by examination of Freud's case history of the patient described as the Rat Man. (shrink)
The problem of consciousness seems to arise from experience itself. As we shall consider in more detail below, we are strongly disposed to contrast conscious experience with the physical states or events by which we take it to be realized. This contrast gives rise to dualism and other problems of mind and body. In this chapter I argue that these problems can usefully be considered in the perspective of evolution.
In what follows I present an approach to the problem of consciousness, which I take to be suggested by Wittgenstein's remarks on sensation. As sketched here, this consists of a number of empirical hypotheses about the mind and how we represent it, and a series of arguments that these hypotheses explain phenomena which constitute the problem of consciousness, in such a way as to render them neither mysterious nor problematic.
Three philosophical problems -- the problem of the external world, the problem of other minds, and the problem of consciousness -- seem rooted in the way we conceive experience. We tend to think of our experiences as having a nature which is radically distinct from that of the world which they present to us. This emerges in a series of oppositions as between experience and the world, which we can set out as follows.