Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To download the bibliographic list of all PEP-Web content…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

Did you know that you can download a bibliography of all content available on PEP Web to import to Endnote, Refer, or other bibliography manager? Just click on the link found at the bottom of the webpage. You can import into any UTF-8 (Unicode) compatible software which can import data in “Refer” format. You can get a free trial of one such program, Endnote, by clicking here.

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

Humphrey, N. (1997). Commentaries. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 45:726-731.

(1997). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 45:726-731


Nicholas Humphrey

These days, when it is taken for granted in every field of psychology that a large part of mental life occurs unconsciously, it is as well to be reminded that up until Freud's own time the very idea of unconscious mental activity had been considered a conceptual impossibility. For centuries philosophers had been insisting that whatever goes on in a person's mind must by its very nature be conscious and accessible. Descartes had argued that the mind is essentially “transparent to itself.” In An Essay Concerning Human Understanding Locke had claimed that “a man is always conscious to himself of thinking. … consciousness is the perception of what passes in a man's own mind” (Book III, chap. 9).

Freud was not the first to challenge this cozy picture of the mind as a completely open book. Writers from Shakespeare to Diderot evidently had inklings that there might be hidden forces at work that could bias the way people think and could even undermine their conscious projects. Yet it took Freud to raise these inklings to the status of a scientific hypothesis and to seek confirmatory evidence in neurotic behavior.

[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.