Ch. 8 - Freud: The Unconscious Basis of Mind
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Author:  Chris OConnor [ Sun Feb 24, 2008 3:57 am ]
Post subject:  Ch. 8 - Freud: The Unconscious Basis of Mind

Ch. 8 - Freud: The Unconscious Basis of Mind

Please use this thread for discussing Chapter 8.

Author:  WildCityWoman [ Sat Mar 08, 2008 7:27 pm ]
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Freud: The Unconscious Basis of Mind

Life and Work;
Background Theory;
Theory of Human Nature;
Critical discussion;

Author:  DWill [ Sun Apr 06, 2008 10:26 pm ]
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I thought the author was pretty rough on Dr. Freud, not that I'm saying it wasn't warranted. He took the good Dr. to task, I think, because Freud claimed scientific validity for his ideas while the other figures in the book did not. And the author says that most of what Freud can't be verified scientifically.

Stevenson's criticism of the effectiveness of Freudian analysis seems a little off the topic of human nature, though. What did Freud contribute to thought about HN? That would seem to be quite a lot. Just by inventing the unconscious mind (if Freud in fact did) would be huge because we can't imagine being without this concept today. Id/ego/superego as a tripartite division of mind has been found very useful in conceptualizing the forces that a person feels (not all consciously) tied into.

The determinism of Freud seems extreme, though. If he was saying we have no chance of escaping the warping influence of early instinctual drives (esp. sexual) without undergoing analysis, I'd say he's wrong there. We have more normal freedom than that to exert ourselves against our Id-based drives. And surely it can't be true, in view of what we know now about human development, that the first 5 or 6 years writes the program of our personality in stone.

Even if many of Freud's specific ideas are not generally accepted today, the way we talk about the mind continues to be very strongly influenced by him.

Author:  DWill [ Tue Apr 08, 2008 8:29 pm ]
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It was interesting that Stevenson raises a question in this chapter about whether we should even expect to be able to to subject religions , philosophies, or even certain theories to logical scrutiny. (Perhaps he should have asked this in the Introduction.) The question in a way undercuts the purpose of the book, but it's good one, anyway. Why would we expect beliefs to make normal sense or to be something that science could support? There is definitely part of our mind that is not interested in whatever the facts may be. Science canot give us the reasons we are looking for in the end, Stevenson says, and I think this is right. Science is like prose, philosophy or religion is like poetry. We need to have both.

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