Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To share an article on social media…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

If you find an article or content on PEP-Web interesting, you can share it with others using the Social Media Button at the bottom of every page.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Baars, B.J. (1997). Commentaries. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 45:707-714.

(1997). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 45:707-714


Bernard J. Baars

This commentary on Mark Solms's ingenious paper is written from the perspective of a cognitive and brain theorist working on the issue of consciousness (and, necessarily, unconsciousness as well). I believe his critique of contemporary scientific work on these issues is now largely moot, because current research is moving quite rapidly to make sense of both conscious and unconscious functions, unencumbered so far by the troubles so many critics had predicted. We are rediscovering a great continent of evidence, neither encountering hippogriffs nor falling off the edge of the earth. The new scientific framework, in my view, is entirely consistent both with psychodynamic ideas and with William James's classic work written more than a century ago.

Since about 1910 there has been great resistance in academic science to research on consciousness. Indeed, until the last decade or so, the very word consciousness was scrupulously avoided (Baars 1986, 1988, 1996). Of course, if we cannot speak of consciousness, unconsciousness becomes meaningless as well. In that sense, both psychoanalysis and the psychology of such luminaries as James were excluded until quite recently. Today both conscious and unconscious processes have come back quite dramatically as topics of academic concern, in part because cognitive psychologists have learned to use behavioral evidence to make persuasive inferences about underlying theoretical constructs.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2019, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.