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Talvitie, V. Ihanus, J. (2012). Response to “Minding our Metaphysics”. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 93(5):1289-1290.

(2012). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 93(5):1289-1290

Response to “Minding our Metaphysics” Related Papers

Vesa Talvitie and Juhani Ihanus

Dr Scarfone claims that we have “neglected some important problems” and committed “important category errors”. However, when he refers to the first two of these “category errors” it seems to us that he is merely arguing in favour of the view we criticized in our article: that there is an entity, domain, or sphere (the mental/psychoanalytic unconscious) that does not appear in our consciousness, and cannot be studied with the help of the scientists' equipment. If it is “a mistake” and “a waste of time” to “look for any parallelism between a non-existent or trivial ‘neural unconscious’ [or rather just the brain] and the unconscious investigated by psychoanalysis”, as Scarfone argues, then psychoanalysts need to explain how the mental unconscious is able to cause disorders such as the trembling of hands. That is, we are left wondering how, to use the example we referred to, Scarfone considers that little Hans' mental unconscious actually affects the functioning of the neurons of little Hans' brain, and/or makes his hands tremble. Moreover, to call the neural unconscious “non-existent” or “trivial” does not help to foster a dialogue between psychoanalysis and neuroscience, as we hope to do.

As we explained in our paper, we believe that regardless of how the mind is defined, no branch of psychotherapy or psychoanalysis can help making the (philosophically problematic) presupposition that the mind possesses causal power over the body/brain.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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