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Humanities 102 24 February 2014 Freud/Descartes: Two Models of the Self Matthew Gumpert.

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Presentation on theme: "Humanities 102 24 February 2014 Freud/Descartes: Two Models of the Self Matthew Gumpert."— Presentation transcript:

1 Humanities February 2014 Freud/Descartes: Two Models of the Self Matthew Gumpert

2 Freud, Some Elementary Lessons in Psycho- Analysis (1938) Consciousness as the sine qua non of the self... sine qua non = the essential or defining feature Everyone - or almost everyone - was agreed that what is psychical really has a common quality in which its essence is expressed: namely, the quality of being conscious... All that is conscious, they said, is psychical, and conversely all that is psychical is conscious.

3 Freud, The Ego and the Id (1923) For most people who have been educated in philosophy the idea of anything psychical which is not also conscious is so inconceivable that it seems absurd and refutable simply by logic.

4 Descartes, The Discourse on Method (1637) But immediately I noticed that while I was endeavouring in this way to think that everything was false, it was necessary that I, who was thinking this, was something. And observing that this truth, “I am thinking, therefore I exist [Je pense donc je suis]” was so firm and sure that all the most extravagant suppositions of the sceptics were incapable of shaking it, I decided that I could accept it without scruple as the first principle of the philosophy I was seeking.

5 Descartes, Principles of Philosophy (1640s) It is not possible for us to doubt that we exist while we are doubting... In rejecting - and even imagining to be false - everything which we can in any way doubt, it is easy for us to suppose that there is no God and no heaven, and that there are no bodies, and even that we ourselves have no hands or feet, or indeed any body at all. But we cannot for all that suppose that we, who are having such thoughts, are nothing. For it is a contradiction to suppose that what thinks does not, at the very time when it is thinking, exist.

6 Descartes, Principles of Philosophy Proposition 9: What is meant by “thought.” By the term “thought,” I understand everything which we are aware of as happening within us, in so far as we have awareness of it. Hence thinking is to be identified here not merely with understanding, willing and imagining, but also with sensory awareness.

7 Descartes, Principles of Philosophy Proposition 13: The mind, then, knowing itself, but still in doubt about all other things, looks around in all directions in order to extend its knowledge further.

8 Descartes, Principles of Philosophy Proposition 30: everything that we clearly perceive is true Proposition 39: The freedom of the will is self- evident

9 Descartes, Comments on a Certain Broadsheet (1647) A composite entity is one which is found to have two or more attributes, each one of which can be distinctly understood apart from the other.... That which we regard as having at the same time both extension and thought is a composite entity, namely a man - an entity consisting of a soul and a body.

10 Paul Ricoeur, Freud and Philosophy (1970) Three masters, seemingly mutually exclusive, dominate the school of suspicion: Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud.

11 Freud, The Ego and the Id The division of the psychical into what is conscious and what is unconscious is the fundamental premise of psycho-analysis.

12 Freud, Some Elementary Lessons in Psycho-Analysis... our scientific work in psychology will consist in translating unconscious processes into conscious ones.

13 Freud, Some Elementary Lessons in Psycho-Analysis No, being conscious cannot be the essence of what is psychical. It is only a quality of what is psychical, and an inconstant quality at that – one that is far oftener absent than present.

14 Matthew Arnold, “Dover Beach” (1876) Ah, love, let us be true To one another! for the world, which seems To lie before us like a land of dreams, So various, so beautiful, so new, Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light, Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain; And we are here as on a darkling plain Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, Where ignorant armies clash by night.

15 Notes on the “Architecture of Hysteria” (1897)

16 Freud, The Psychopathology of Everyday Life (1901)

17 Freud, A Short Account of Psychoanalysis (1923) Small failures of functioning, like the temporary forgetting of... proper names, slips of the tongue and of the pen, and so on, had hitherto not been considered worthy of any explanation... The present writer then showed from many examples, in his book The Psychopathology of Everyday Life... [t]hat events of this kind have a meaning, and arise owing to a conscious intention being interfered with by another, supressed or actually unconscious one.

18 Freud, The Ego and the Id... Georg Groddeck, who is never tired of insisting that what we call our ego behaves essentially passively in life, and that, as he expresses it, we are ‘lived’ by unknown and uncontrollable forces

19 Freud, An Outline of Psycho-Analysis (1938) We assume that mental life is the function of an apparatus to which we ascribe the characteristics of being extended in space and made up of several portions.

20 Descartes, Passions of the Soul (1649) We need to recognize that the soul is really joined to the whole body, and that we cannot properly say that it exists in any one part of the body to the exclusion of the others.

21 Freud, Civilization and its Discontents (1930) Normally, there is nothing of which we are more certain than the feeling of our self, of our own ego. This ego appears to us as something autonomous and unitary, marked off distinctly from everything else. That such an appearance is deceptive, and that on the contrary the ego is continued inwards, without any sharp delimitation, into an unconscious mental entity which we designate as the id and for which it serves as a façade – this was a discovery first made by psycho-analytic research...

22 Freud, An Outline of Psycho-Analysis [The id] contains everything that is inherited, that is present at birth... above all... the instincts... Originally, to be sure, everything was id; the ego was developed out of the id by the continual influence of the external world

23 Freud, Civilization and its Discontents Further reflection tells us that the adult’s ego- feeling cannot have been the same from the beginning. It must have gone through a process of development...

24 Freud, An Outline of Psycho-Analysis The picture of an ego which mediates between the id and the external world... İn fact applies to the ego only up to the end of the first period of childhood... At about that time an important change has taken place. A portion of the external world... Has... been abandoned as an object and has instead, by identification, been taken into the ego and thus become an integral part of the internal world. This new psychical agency continues to carry on the functions which have hitherto been performed by the people... in the external world: it observes the ego, gives it orders, judges it and threatens it with punishments, exactly like the parents whose place it has taken. We call this agency the super-ego...

25 Freud, New Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis ( )

26 Freud, An Outline of Psycho-Analysis An action by the ego is as it should be if it satisfies simultaneously the demands of the id, of the super-ego and of reality...


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