Sunday, May 10, 2009

66 Sigmund Freud

It wasn't Freud who "invented" the unconscious. It had been around for a long long time already. But it was him who gave body to it and a place in psychology.

In the 50s and 60s of the last century the unconscious was kicked out by the behaviorists and later by the cognitive psychologists, but it is back again in psychology although in another way than Freud interpreted the unconscious.

But I dont want to give a lecture on psychology here. More important is the philosophical consequences of Freud's theory of the human mind.

As I said, the idea that there is more in a man than only his clean rational thinking, is not new. It wasn't even Freud who introduced this observation in psychology. The existence of an unconscious is most important in relation with subjects as ethics or determinism.

The unconscious is of all ages. The mystics saw it as the link with God; the Christian Platonists as a divin creative principle; the romantics as the connection between the individual and universal powers; the early rationalists as a factor operating in memory, perception and ideas;

the postromantics as organic vitality expressed in will, imagination, and creation; physical scientists as the expression of physiological processes in the brain which are not yet understood;

Freud as a melee of inhibited memories and desires; and Jung as a prerational realm of instincts, myths, and symbols often making for stability.

The philosophical questions Freud presents us with are serious. The unconscious is an uncontrolable agent, which incites us to actions. So this raises the ethical question to what extend are we morally responsable for our actions?

Closely related to this question is the observation that when our behavior is shaped by early childhood experiences, as Freud thought, arent we then just determined to do what we do because of the results of our early upbringing?

Then there is the epistemological question. How can we be conscious of the unconscious and if we suspect there is something in us, which could be called like that, how can we test it?

When we look at the scientific demands of verification and prediction, psycho-analytical theory is in trouble. A lot of interpretation and little verification.

Sartre criticized Freud's psychology, because it is rather improbable that a conscious censor, the ego, would surpress uncouscious desires. If the ego isnt conscious of the unconscious ideas and desires, how then does it know that they have to be surpressed?

However, Freud gave the mind body..He changed the way we look at ourselves fundamentally...even when some like to call him Sigmund Fraud...(^_^)

The Discussion

[13:20] herman Bergson: So much on Freud....
[13:20] herman Bergson: if you have any unconscious questions or remarks..feel free to say so
[13:20] Varick Vendetta: I got one, but I don't know what it is so I can't ask it.
[13:20] itsme Frederix: the epistemological question you mentioned but also the epistemological founding of Freud, it is not rational, nor empirical seems it?
[13:21] Gudrun Odriscoll: lol
[13:21] hope63 Shepherd: sartre is a mediocre observer.. his ego is not the one that makes his body breath..
[13:21] arabella Ella: herman however freud said we can know the unconscious through our dreams and through analysis ... so does that not mean there are ways of uncovering the unconscious?
[13:21] Gudrun Odriscoll: sartre had a huge ego, didn't he
[13:21] herman Bergson: Ok....
[13:21] herman Bergson: one at a time..
[13:21] hope63 Shepherd: lol.. sure did..
[13:22] Stanley Aviatik: It is a valid point that is very little evidence to prove the work done by freudiansa - but surely that is so for all schools of analysis
[13:22] Vladimir Apparatchik: I'm conscious of my unconscious all the time - it drives my car in the morning, it solves the crossword puzzle I couldnt do the previous day etc etc
[13:22] herman Bergson: I agree itsme ...the scientific foundations of psyvcho analysis are questionable
[13:22] herman Bergson: And dreams...
[13:23] arabella Ella: dreams for freud are the royal road to the unconscious
[13:23] herman Bergson: it was Freud who said they were the outlet of our unconscious....where did he get that?
[13:23] Mickorod Renard: it is by discovering ourselves as much as posible that will help balance our lives
[13:23] Gudrun Odriscoll: sometimes some thing stay better hidden, only kidding?
[13:23] Samuel Okelly: could it be that the limiations of the scientific method are lacking with regards to freudian theory? (just a thought)
[13:24] herman Bergson: Wait...
[13:24] herman Bergson: Samual has a point.....
[13:24] hope63 Shepherd: may be we should try to analyse what is unconcious and concious.. what happens in the brain? (mind for others)
[13:24] herman Bergson: I want to elaborate on that..
[13:24] Gudrun Odriscoll: could one see some of his stuff as metaphors, one should not forget that he recruited his subjects from the Viennese bourgeois
[13:25] itsme Frederix: anyone of you read Yalom's When Nietszche wept" its about late 19ct. Wien and a doctor with a student being Freud - recomment the book for its style and content?
[13:25] Stanley Aviatik: herman...
[13:25] herman Bergson: Samuel refers to limitations of the scientific method...
[13:25] herman Bergson: plz...
[13:25] herman Bergson: That is an often used argument...
[13:26] herman Bergson: it suggest that epistemologically there are other ways of gathering knowledge than by scientific methotodology..
[13:26] herman Bergson: I never have heard any argument that proofed that fact
[13:26] arabella Ella: as there is in philosophy via logical arguments
[13:26] Jeb Larkham: sorry cat on KB
[13:27] itsme Frederix: on the other hand we gathering knowledge all the day without being scientific
[13:27] Gudrun Odriscoll: Just coming into my mind, Paul Feyerabend argued against methodology (scientific one?)
[13:27] Mickorod Renard: yes and what doo we do with it,,,store it somewhere
[13:27] arabella Ella: philosophy often builds up arguments and theories through logical arguments which do not involve scientific method and which are perfectly valid
[13:27] herman Bergson: yes itsme...and that is the modern way of looking at something called the unconscious these days...
[13:28] Cailleach Shan: Hi... sorry I'm late.
[13:28] arabella Ella: Hi Caileach!
[13:28] itsme Frederix: no only modern, in early day there was knowledge to - also not according to our/yet scientific standards
[13:28] herman Bergson: Yes Gudrun..even Against Method..:-)
[13:28] Mickorod Renard: it must be considered that all the stored information must have an effect on our mental state
[13:29] herman Bergson: Yes Mickorod...
[13:29] Vladimir Apparatchik: but now , through MRI, we can study the brain having unconscious thoughts - so it is susceptible to scientific study
[13:29] hope63 Shepherd: look at he comments in class mick lol..
[13:29] arabella Ella: some knowledge is repressed or forgotten ... and we also have useful defence mechanisms
[13:29] itsme Frederix: ] Mickorod there is more language (p.e.) stored on hard disks and books than in out brain!
[13:29] herman Bergson: the idea that we are conditioned by early childhood experiences like Freud said hasent been proven..
[13:29] AristotleVon Doobie: Given Freud's childhood 'sins' and since he was a atheist, could it be that his theories merely were only delveloped to find a different 'devil' to blame his behaviour on? The 'unconcious' sounds mystical to me.
[13:30] Gudrun Odriscoll: I agree Arabelle, otherwise we would have a meltdown because of overload
[13:30] Mickorod Renard: yea? itsme,,,I am supprised
[13:30] itsme Frederix: @Herman, but the idea sounds oke - otherwise the individu/person being continuos will be a problem!
[13:31] Gudrun Odriscoll: Didn't Freud study his often female subjects because of their sexual problems, hysteria, etc. and then he developed this Id, Ego and Super-Ego stuff?
[13:31] Vladimir Apparatchik: the unconscious isnt mystical - we are mainly zombies with a thin layer of consciousness
[13:31] AristotleVon Doobie: I think not
[13:31] arabella Ella: herman the question may arise ... do we need to have knowledge in our brains any more with so many technological devices in which to store it?
[13:31] herman Bergson: present day neurological insights claim that the brain stores tons of data, though we only are conscious of a small portion
[13:32] hope63 Shepherd: gudrun.. your remark made me finally understand myself:)
[13:32] herman Bergson: but in making judgements all these data are used
[13:32] Gudrun Odriscoll: Would we not be a bit empty, vacuous so to say, and would we also have some emotional extensions, so we do not have to have emotions anymore, all stored outside, or lived or felt outside
[13:32] itsme Frederix: @Herman, your last stetement is in favor of the childhood doctrine
[13:32] hope63 Shepherd: concious-- herman.. a word to be discussed..
[13:33] arabella Ella: actually consciousness, Hope, may be a better topic to discuss
[13:33] Varick Vendetta: I must be going, excuse me.
[13:33] herman Bergson: no Itsme..
[13:33] hope63 Shepherd: what i meant ara:)
[13:33] Mickorod Renard: bye varik
[13:33] arabella Ella: bye varick
[13:33] Gudrun Odriscoll: hope, do you talk about overload?
[13:33] itsme Frederix: Herman no why?
[13:34] Gudrun Odriscoll: bye varick
[13:34] hope63 Shepherd: gudrun.. if i answer now hermqan will hit me with his pipe on the haed..
[13:34] herman Bergson: What I meant was that our senses register permanently day after day tons of experiences...
[13:34] Vladimir Apparatchik: I agree - consciousness is the real problem, the unconscious is trivial in comparison
[13:34] hope63 Shepherd: lucky fellow you are herman..
[13:34] herman Bergson: there have been experiments where people were tested on to make a judgement
[13:34] Mickorod Renard: the last brain expert i spoke to claimed the brain is still very much a mystery
[13:34] Samuel Okelly: our brain has millions of neurotransmitters and i think storage is less of a problem for us, rather our conscious ability to access them sequentialy
[13:35] herman Bergson: and it showed that decisions which were extensively discussed were worse than instant decisions
[13:35] hope63 Shepherd: ara.. sam is on the right track:)
[13:35] herman Bergson: Yes Samuel...that is the idea..
[13:35] Vladimir Apparatchik: only sometimes herman
[13:35] arabella Ella: depends on what storage you mean Sam, it is actually billions and we are not as good as machines where memory is concerned but better at making connections
[13:36] Stanley Aviatik: surely it's not the number of neurones - its the interconnectivity factor
[13:36] hope63 Shepherd: gudrun- you are the ai expert
[13:36] itsme Frederix: @Sam, Arabelle, computers have the same problem - tons of information but a narrow path to it
[13:36] Osrum: has anyone hear about transplant patients having memories of the donor ?
[13:36] hope63 Shepherd: only in movies os
[13:36] Mickorod Renard: yes i have
[13:37] Stanley Aviatik: that is very mythological and anecdotal
[13:37] Osrum: interests me
[13:37] arabella Ella: Osrum read Daniel Dennett's 'Where Am I' available on line .. brilliant
[13:37] Mickorod Renard: including memories held in other organs
[13:37] Osrum: as to just where memory is stored
[13:37] Osrum: in chemical reactions in otherparts of the body then the brain
[13:37] Gudrun Odriscoll: ara is right, our accessible memory does not seem as good as computer's accessible one
[13:37] Vladimir Apparatchik: I agree Arabella - Dennett is excellent on this
[13:37] herman Bergson: Ok...let's get back to the philosphical issues
[13:38] Gemma Cleanslate: always stray :-))))
[13:38] hope63 Shepherd: cats:)
[13:38] Gemma Cleanslate: verb
[13:38] herman Bergson: The fact is that Freud contributed to the mind - body problem...
[13:38] arabella Ella: knowledge and responsibility seem interesting here herman
[13:38] herman Bergson: Yes arabella...
[13:39] herman Bergson: Like a lot of crime is excused because of a bad childhood..
[13:39] hope63 Shepherd: knowledge is what society gives you,ara.. responsibility is what society expects from you..
[13:39] itsme Frederix: well there is a point in that - not the excuse but the correlation
[13:39] Gudrun Odriscoll: and ....?
[13:40] Vladimir Apparatchik: Freud was 100% nurture 0% nature
[13:40] AristotleVon Doobie: The devil made me do it.
[13:40] arabella Ella: @hope ... knowledge is however also shaped by perception and experience ... two people may receive same input and process it differently
[13:40] herman Bergson: I think the reference to an unconscious makes the debate on responsability more difficult
[13:40] hope63 Shepherd: reminds me we miss maff, ari:)
[13:40] Gudrun Odriscoll: there are so many people round who blame their mothers for their problems, isnt' this Freudian?
[13:41] arabella Ella: @Vlad ... nurture is important in Freud ... take unconscious sexual repression or childhood repressed experiences
[13:41] AristotleVon Doobie: lol
[13:41] itsme Frederix: @Herman, but even about consious things we are mostly not rational - we are not super rational
[13:41] Vladimir Apparatchik: arabella - thats' what I saif , he took no account of nature
[13:41] herman Bergson: No Itsme but we can be held responsable for what we do
[13:42] itsme Frederix: in that we you only count the ACT very pragmatic!
[13:42] Mickorod Renard: but it wouldnt do if we were all the same
[13:42] arabella Ella: herman we can only say we are responsible if we accept free will
[13:43] arabella Ella: how much free will does freud actually allow for?
[13:43] Vladimir Apparatchik: Actually herman I'm not sure if the unconscious makes free will/determinism any harder
[13:43] itsme Frederix: forget about free will
[13:43] herman Bergson: that is an issue with Freud too Arabella...
[13:43] Gudrun Odriscoll: this is very black and white, ara. We are responsible even with our genetic determination.
[13:43] herman Bergson: Exactly Vladimir
[13:43] arabella Ella: @itsme ... i did not say i am a proponent of free will my opinion is much more complicated than that ;)
[13:44] Mickorod Renard: to a point gudrun I aggree
[13:44] Gudrun Odriscoll: which point Mick
[13:44] Vladimir Apparatchik: it is worth thinking whether the unconscious having free will is a coherent idea or not
[13:44] hope63 Shepherd: why gudrun?
[13:45] herman Bergson: I dont think so Vladimir
[13:45] Mickorod Renard: some problems are too profound
[13:45] arabella Ella: @ vladimir ... it is the person in a holistic manner that has or does not have free will, not a component of the person
[13:45] Gudrun Odriscoll: because, hope, I will tell you that I feel that genetically I am a murderer, and therfore I have to kill everybody I see, and I am not responsible, because I have got some genes, or a mother or ?
[13:46] itsme Frederix: @Arrabelle, sure, same for me thats why I sometimes wan to forget it - keep it under cover
[13:46] Vladimir Apparatchik: but can a totally unconscious creature, a zombie, have free will
[13:46] Vladimir Apparatchik: if not then free will is just a function of consciousness
[13:46] Cailleach Shan: @Herman. Would you equate the 'unconscious' with the ego?
[13:46] arabella Ella: free will is (or is not) an attribute of personhood
[13:46] herman Bergson: No...Cailleach...
[13:47] herman Bergson: Freud made a distinction between the unconscious, the ego and the superego.
[13:47] Gudrun Odriscoll: Susan Blackmore says, that Free Will is a myth, a great con
[13:47] herman Bergson: The ego is the controling unit..
[13:48] herman Bergson: ok..Free will will be an issue in another lecture..:-)
[13:48] Era Lucas: free will requires free agent
[13:48] Vladimir Apparatchik: Interestingly Dennett says free will exists but the universe is still deterministic
[13:48] Stanley Aviatik: yes - let will go free
[13:48] AristotleVon Doobie: Funny how religion requires you to credit something else for the good you do and allows you to blame something else for the bad you do and Freudism allows you to take the credt for good but still be able to blame something else for the bad.
[13:48] herman Bergson: The ego tries to balance the drives from the unconscious with the moral demands comming from the superego
[13:48] hope63 Shepherd: how ever did we get to the question of free will with freud,..what does the subconcious have to do with free will apart from beeing some experience -knowledge we have which influences our thoughts.-actions..
[13:49] Stanley Aviatik: Absolutely right hope
[13:49] Cailleach Shan: And yet it is possible to 'observe' the ego.
[13:49] arabella Ella: @hope ... cos if we are not responsible for what happens due to our unconscious then could we be responsible agents?
[13:50] herman Bergson: can you speak of free will if everything is incited by unconscious drives and motivations
[13:50] hope63 Shepherd: responsible agent is conciousness..
[13:50] herman Bergson: if everything we do can be explained as the working of the unconscious we are deterministic
[13:50] Era Lucas: what makes those drives and motivations?
[13:51] Gudrun Odriscoll: so we are captured in the spiderweb of unconscious desires and unconsious actions that manifest in some really weird stuff?
[13:51] Vladimir Apparatchik: i'm not sure ... my subconscious is moral .. i've trained it
[13:51] hope63 Shepherd: unconciousness is canalized into conciousness,.. we think .. but we don'^t know why we think- or act- in a certain way..
[13:51] Gudrun Odriscoll: Vlad than it is not sub anymore but ueber (super)
[13:52] Osrum: Just remember that we are taking 'theory' here and not varaiable facts
[13:52] herman Bergson: indeed Gudrun..:-)
[13:52] Vladimir Apparatchik: is the superego conscious?
[13:52] herman Bergson: Well..let me conclude this debate...
[13:52] Cailleach Shan: Herman can you explain for me the differences Freud gave to the 'ego' and the 'super ego'?
[13:53] herman Bergson: the postulate of the existence of a subconscious or unconscious leads to serious ethical questions regarding responsability
[13:53] herman Bergson: besides that there is in fact no empirical evidence for a "thing" like that..we only have behavioor which needs to be explained
[13:54] Mickorod Renard: but we will never know what the sub concience will unleash
[13:55] Gudrun Odriscoll: this is why CBT and NLP are in at the moment, no psychoanalysis anymore for correctiong the baddies
[13:55] Gemma Cleanslate: see you all thursday
[13:55] Vladimir Apparatchik: too expensive:)
[13:55] Cailleach Shan: Rats. We have lost Herman
[13:55] Gudrun Odriscoll: see you gemma
[13:55] Mickorod Renard: bye gemma
[13:55] AristotleVon Doobie: bye Gem
[13:55] Athena John: bye
[13:55] hope63 Shepherd: cbt?nlp?
[13:55] Cailleach Shan: cu Gem
[13:55] Mickorod Renard: hi rod
[13:55] arabella Ella: bye gemma
[13:55] Stanley Aviatik: I think psychoanalysis aims to work at a much more fundemental level than CBT or NLP
[13:56] Cailleach Shan: Neuro Linguistic Programming
[13:56] Annabelle Laminsk: `*•.✰weltome backs, weltome backs, weltome backs!✰.•*`
[13:56] Athena John: wb herman
[13:56] Stanley Aviatik: NEURO LINGUAL PROGRAMMING
[13:56] Gudrun Odriscoll: Stanley, you misunderstood me
[13:56] arabella Ella: but today there are also chip implants in the brain i went to a lecture on the topic the other day
[13:56] herman Bergson: osrum are you still there
[13:56] Stanley Aviatik: Never Gudrun!
[13:56] AristotleVon Doobie: :))) Rodney
[13:56] Osrum: yes
[13:56] Rodney Handrick: Hi Ari
[13:56] arabella Ella: electrodes are implanted for parkinsons, depression, OCD and turette's
[13:56] herman Bergson: can anyone of you put the chat history in a notecard for me
[13:56] Mickorod Renard: herman,,I was sayin that we will never know what our sub concience will unleash
[13:57] itsme Frederix: Arraabella, which might give you the idea total manipulation is not far awy (or even always going on already)
[13:57] AristotleVon Doobie: whoooa Lori
[13:57] Gudrun Odriscoll: Stanley some NLP in RL might be a prescription for you, as in your SL you are apparently a therapist, I have been told
[13:57] AristotleVon Doobie: was tha somethng Freudian?
[13:58] arabella Ella: Itsme, manipulation of behaviour via electrodes is poss
[13:58] Stanley Aviatik: lol
[13:58] Carlton Homewood is Offline
[13:58] itsme Frederix: I lost when there was said we live in a deterministic univers, but regarding to evulution it might be teleoistic
[13:58] AristotleVon Doobie: I will send you a note card Herman
[13:58] Cailleach Shan: Was that a creation of your unconscious Herman?

Posted by herman_bergson on 2008-05-07 09:44:38

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