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Tip: To sort articles by sourceā€¦

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

After you perform a search, you can sort the articles by Source. This will rearrange the results of your search, displaying articles according to their appearance in journals and books. This feature is useful for tracing psychoanalytic concepts in a specific psychoanalytic tradition.

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

Mills, J. (1998). Freud Among the Philosophers. The Psychoanalytic Unconscious and Its Philosophical Critics. By Donald Levy. New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 1996. 189 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 67(4):733-737.

(1998). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 67(4):733-737

Freud Among the Philosophers. The Psychoanalytic Unconscious and Its Philosophical Critics. By Donald Levy. New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 1996. 189 pp.

Review by:
Jon Mills

Some investigators, … who are unwilling to accept the unconscious, find a way out of the difficulty in the fact … that in consciousness … it is possible to distinguish a great variety of gradations in intensity or clarity …. The reference to gradations of clarity in consciousness is in no way conclusive and has no more evidential value than such analogous statements as: ‘There are so very many gradations in illumination—from the most glaring and dazzling light to the dimmest glimmer—therefore there is no such thing as darkness at all’; or, ‘There are varying degrees of vitality, therefore there is no such thing as death.’ Such statements may in a certain way have a meaning, but for practical purposes they are worthless. This will be seen if one tries to draw particular conclusions from them such as, ‘there is therefore no need to strike a light’, or, ‘therefore all organisms are immortal’. Further to include ‘what is unnoticeable’ under the concept of ‘what is conscious’ is simply to play havoc with the one and only piece of direct and certain knowledge that we have about the mind. And after all, a consciousness of which one knows nothing seems to me a good deal more absurd than something mental that is unconscious.

FREUD

How can one think the unthought? This is precisely the question Freud attempts to explain by positing the existence of an unconscious ontology.

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