What’s the latest scientific insight about unconscious beliefs, desires, and motivations? Do contemporary experimental psychologists do any better than Freud? Could anyone do worse? On this week’s show we’re asking: What has replaced Freud?
It’s tempting to imagine that self-knowledge is easy to come by. All you have to do is introspect. The idea is that the mind is kind of like a clear glass fishbowl. If you want to know what’s going on, all you’ve got to do is take a look. But there are problems with this idea.
Love it or hate it, Freud’s decades long exploration into the nature and power of human sexuality is something that any philosopher of sex needs to contend with. I turn to this curiously under-explored region of the philosophical landscape in the final installment of my Philosophical Freud series.
Mind the Gaps!
In this installment of my series on Freud as a philosopher, I explain how Freud arrived at the view that mental states are brain states, that mental processes are unconscious, that we have only indirect access to our own minds, and that introspection is an inadequate tool for exploring the mind.
The Puzzle of the Unconscious
Most of Freud’s contemporaries believed that the human mind was all conscious. Historians of ideas who write about the development of psychology often get Freud's original contribution wrong because they don’t attend carefully enough to what was meant by terms like “subconscious mind” and “unconscious states.”