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Stolorow, R.D. Atwood, G.E. (1994). Chapter 17 The Myth of the Isolated Mind. Progress in Self Psychology, 10:233-250.

(1994). Progress in Self Psychology, 10:233-250

IV A Discussion of the “Contexts of Being”

Chapter 17 The Myth of the Isolated Mind

Robert D. Stolorow, Ph.D. and George E. Atwood, Ph.D.

In contrast with the view that modern man suffers from an absence of myth, in this chapter we challenge a central myth that pervades contemporary Western culture and has insinuated itself into the founda-tional assumptions of psychoanalysis—The Myth of the Isolated Individual Mind. By bringing into focus the unconscious organizing power of this myth and proposing an alternative perspective emphasizing the inter-subjective foundations of psychological life, we hope to contribute not only to the advancement of psychoanalytic theory but also to the deepening of reflective self-awareness. Liberated from the constraining grip of this myth, psychoanalytic theorizing will be freed to picture human experience in radically new ways.

Alienation and The Isolated Mind

The myth of the isolated mind ascribes to man a mode of being in which the individual exists separately from the world of physical nature and also from engagement with others. This myth in addition denies the essential immateriality of human experience by portraying subjective life in reified, substantialized terms.

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