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Extending the mental: Philosophical assessments of approaches to the unconscious in Freudian theory and empirical psychology

Manson, Neil Campbell; (1995) Extending the mental: Philosophical assessments of approaches to the unconscious in Freudian theory and empirical psychology. Masters thesis (M.Phil), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis is concerned with the relationship between naive conceptions of the mind and the notion of unconscious mentality. The distinction is made between naive first- personal and naive third-personal conceptions of the mind. The relationship between the naive first-personal conception of the mind and the notion of unconscious mentality is illuminated via an exposition and assessment of John Searle's recent argument against certain kinds of unconscious mentality. Upon Searle's conception of the mind the notion of unconscious mentality is rendered conceptually incoherent. Searle proposes an extension of this conception of the mind that will accommodate certain forms of unconscious mentality; but, it is argued, his "Dispositional Analysis" of unconscious mentality is inadequate. The naive first-personal conception of the mind has negative implications for the notion of unconscious mentality. The view that unconscious mentality may be vindicated by rejecting all naive conceptions of mind is examined but found to be problematic: the core objection is that non-naive conceptions of mind are not intelligible as conceptions of mind. The advocate of unconscious mentality faces a dilemma: reject naive conceptions of the mind (and risk unintelligibility) or reject unconscious mentality. A recent interpretation of Freudian theory suggests that we may avoid the dilemma and vindicate the Freudian notion of unconscious mentality if we take Freud to be committed to a naive third-personal conception of the mind. Such a conception of the mind supports a conceptually coherent notion of unconscious mentality. However, if the naive third-personal conception of the mind is to allow the attribution of the kinds of unconscious mental phenomena found in Freudian theory it must be extended in some appropriate way. The extended naive third-personal conception of the mind has, at least, the potential to support an adequate account of unconscious mentality. Finally, attention is drawn to a number of problems that must be overcome if that potential is to be realized.

Type: Thesis (Masters)
Qualification: M.Phil
Title: Extending the mental: Philosophical assessments of approaches to the unconscious in Freudian theory and empirical psychology
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Psychology; Unconscious mentality
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10098963
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