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Talvitie, V. Ihanus, J. (2006). The Psychic Apparatus, Metapsychology, and Neuroscience: Toward Biological (Neuro)Psychoanalysis. Neuropsychoanalysis, 8(1):85-98.

(2006). Neuropsychoanalysis, 8(1):85-98

The Psychic Apparatus, Metapsychology, and Neuroscience: Toward Biological (Neuro)Psychoanalysis Related Papers

Vesa Talvitie and Juhani Ihanus

The scope and limits of neuropsychoanalysis are studied through the concept of the “psychic apparatus.” This is a central concept in psychoanalytic thinking, but neither Freud nor present-day neuropsychoanalysts have been able to tell whether or not it refers to a neural “thing.” The authors argue that it refers not only to the brain, but also to personal history, the dynamics of mental states, and their possible repressive functions. Thus, it cannot be reduced to neurophysiology. On the contrary, metapsychology, and thereby the term “psychic apparatus”, fall into the domain that evolutionary biologists and the philosopher Daniel Dennett call the design level. It is suggested that, in terms of clinical practice, the major shortcoming of neuropsychoanalysis is its inability to incorporate (repressive) functions of mental states. Claiming that psychoanalysts too hastily abandoned metapsychology, the authors consider the possibility of creating a “new metapsychology” within the scope of neuropsychoanalysis.

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