Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
:
Login
Tip: To see who cited a particular article…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

To see what papers cited a particular article, click on “[Who Cited This?] which can be found at the end of every article.

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

Solms, M. (1997). Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, And The Human Brain. By Antonio Damasio. New York: Putnam, 1994, xix + 312 pp., $24.95.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 45:959-964.

(1997). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 45:959-964

Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, And The Human Brain. By Antonio Damasio. New York: Putnam, 1994, xix + 312 pp., $24.95.

Review by:
Mark Solms

In this book, Antonio Damasio—a distinguished behavioral neurologist—advances a neuropsychological theory of emotion with which the psychoanalyst will feel comfortably familiar. Damasio's theory rests on two basic hypotheses: (1) that emotions play a positive role in the adaptive functions of the mind, and (2) that they do so by bringing the current state of the body to conscious awareness. The following passage captures the gist of the theory: “Feelings offer us a glimpse of what goes on in our flesh, as a momentary image of that flesh is juxtaposed to the images of other objects and situations; in so doing, feelings modify our comprehensive notion of those other objects and situations. By dint of juxtaposition, body images give other images a quality of goodness or badness, of pleasure or pain.” (p. 159).

Damasio acknowledges that his theory is in essence a revival of the James-Lange theory of emotion. On these familiar foundations, he constructs a new (though largely speculative) theory that combines the James-Lange paradigm with contemporary neuroscientific knowledge. Interestingly, this heuristic theory incorporates (apparently unwittingly) many components of Freud's classical psychology. Like the early Freud, Damasio conceptualizes the mental apparatus as a phylogenetically evolved “sympathetic ganglion” (Freud 1950p. 303) that mediates between compelling demands arising from the internal milieu of the body, on the one hand, and the practical constraints of external social reality on the other.

[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.