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Talvitie, V. Ihanus, J. (2003). Response to commentaries. Neuropsychoanalysis, 5(2):153-158.

(2003). Neuropsychoanalysis, 5(2):153-158

Response to commentaries Related Papers

Vesa Talvitie and Juhani Ihanus

What is it Like to be Unconsciously Mental?

In our target article we aimed to transform philosophical—we think mainly useless—speculations concerning the mental nature of the unconscious into scientific or neurophysiological issues. When looking at the comments, it becomes evident that we have failed completely: philosophical issues have a prominent role in the comments of the reviewers. Moreover, none of the reviewers sees the basic line of thought of our article to be fruitful when the dilemma between the psychoanalytic and the cognitive unconscious is attempted to be resolved.

However, every reviewer thinks the topic to be important—this is not a surprise, because we are dealing with the “cornerstone” of psychoanalysis. Sharing this idea, and being glad to have an opportunity to study this topic together with the reviewers, we will still try to argue in favor of our view.

“Mental,” facts, and explanations

“Mental” is a tricky term. It is (together with “psychic”) probably the most common psychological term, but there is no standard definition for it. For us (and for Searle and many others, too), the term mental is inescapably tied to the unique characteristics of consciousness: emotions, affects, and the feeling of what it is like to possess a certain idea. However, it is often used in a very general sense to refer to processes that occur, or structures that exist, in the mind/brain (of humans). Only few researchers—in addition to psychoanalytic ones, or, for example, the HOT-theorists (see Gennaro, 1996, pp.

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