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Turtz, J. (2017). The Brain, the Mind and the Self: A Psychoanalytic Road Map, by Arnold Goldberg, Routledge, New York, 2015, 164pp.. Am. J. Psychoanal., 77(2):203-205.
(2017). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 77(2):203-205
The Brain, the Mind and the Self: A Psychoanalytic Road Map, by Arnold Goldberg, Routledge, New York, 2015, 164pp.
Review by: John Turtz, Ph.D.
Arnold Goldberg's book, The Brain, the Mind and the Self: A Psychoanalytic Road Map is innovative, philosophically grounded, and quite thought-provoking. His entry into the philosophical domain of defining and contrasting the terms mind, brain, and self is fascinating, enlightening and well worth the read. By differentiating these terms, Goldberg sees an opportunity for psychoanalysis to free itself from the constraints of psychiatry and neuroscience in order to grow and develop along its own unique path.
Goldberg is refreshingly subversive and insightful when differentiating the brain from the mind from the self. From my perspective, this was the most vital and valuable focus of this thoughtful book. Unlike certain scientists such as Francis Crick (the co-discoverer of DNA) and certain notable philosophers such as Daniel Dennett, Goldberg does not view the mind as synonymous with the brain. In this day and age where neuroscience is revered and practically worshipped, this is a perspective well worth exploring and examining.
Goldberg sees the discipline of psychoanalysis as critical in differentiating brain from mind from self. For Goldberg, the brain refers to neuronal connections and functioning. In contrast to the brain, the mind refers to more than brain physiology; the mind brings into being the world of meaning. “Thus the mind, wholly dependent upon and generated by the brain, is the arena wherein we see what the world means to us. Meaning becomes a larger concept than the brain” (p.
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