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Krasner, R.F. (1984). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, XVIII. 1982: The Psychoanalytic Theory of Unconscious Psychic Experience. Benjamin Wolstein. Pp. 412-437.. Psychoanal Q., 53:496-497.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Contemporary Psychoanalysis, XVIII. 1982: The Psychoanalytic Theory of Unconscious Psychic Experience. Benjamin Wolstein. Pp. 412-437.

(1984). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 53:496-497

Contemporary Psychoanalysis, XVIII. 1982: The Psychoanalytic Theory of Unconscious Psychic Experience. Benjamin Wolstein. Pp. 412-437.

Ronald F. Krasner

In the belief that the theory of unconscious psychic experience has for too long been dominated by the concept of biological drives, consequently narrowing the range of contemporary psychoanalysis, Wolstein sets out to modify these antiquated theories for the psychoanalytic inquiry of the 1980's. Freud's theory of the unconscious

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is portrayed as an "oxymoronic bind" and "epistemological dualism" because of what Wolstein considers to be the central problem in the theory: How can something unknowable become knowable? Wolstein believes that Freud solved this by introducing the libido metaphor and that this solution is now untenable. What he then proposes is that the basic source of the "movement of unconscious psychic experience" is the impulse to explore, i.e., curiosity. This desire is purely psychological, distinct from the biological (libido theory) and sociological (ego psychology) surround. It is also not possible to understand how or why this drive to know works. As Wolstein points out, "So, why, then, does the unconscious strive to be conscious? Simply put, it does. Because it just does, period." The mind-soma problem is resolved by the position that the brain is a necessary condition for the activity of curiosity, not a sufficient condition of it. The biological metaphor, Wolstein feels, did not arise out of psychoanalytic observation and thus should be discarded.

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Article Citation

Krasner, R.F. (1984). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, XVIII. 1982. Psychoanal. Q., 53:496-497

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