Why Things Matter: The Place of Values in Science, Psychoanalysis and Religion

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Should modern methods of neuroimaging and neuroscience in the light of new data be used to validate Freudian models of conscious phenomena? Avinash De Sousa is a consultant psychiatrist and psychotherapist with a private practice in Mumbai. He is an avid reader and has over 40 publications in national and international journals. His main areas of interest are alcohol dependence, child and adolescent psychiatry, mental retardation, autism and developmental disabilities.

He teaches psychiatry, child psychology and psychotherapy at over 18 institutions as a visiting faculty. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Journal List Mens Sana Monogr v. Mens Sana Monogr. Avinash De Sousa , M. Human Resource Development , M. Psychotherapy and Counselling. Find articles by Avinash De Sousa. Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer.

Address correspondence to: Dr. Avinash De Sousa, Carmel, 18, St. Road, Santacruz west , Mumbai - , India Email: ku. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract This paper aims at taking a fresh look at Freudian psychoanalytical theory from a modern perspective.

Keywords: Consciousness , Ego psychology , Freud , Psychoanalysis. Is the Freudian unconscious relevant in the light of modern day consciousness? Relationships Between Freudian Theory and Cognitive Psychology with Reference to Consciousness Though over a century has elapsed since Freud first proposed his theory, there has been very little comparison between Freudian theory and its links to nonpsychoanalytic academic psychology. Conclusions [see also Figure 1 ]. Open in a separate window.

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Flowchart of the paper. Take home message Freudian theory needs to be given a fresh look.

Footnotes Conflict of interest None declared Declaration This is to state that this is my original, unpublished work and has not been submitted for publication elsewhere. About the Author. References 1. Archard D.

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Consciousness and the Unconscious. Auden W. Mendelson E. The Collected Poems. UK: Vintage Books; Bion W. The Elements of Psychoanalysis. UK: Karnac Books; Dryden W. Melanie Klein. UK: Sage Publications; Freud S. In: The Interpretation of Dreams. James Strachey, translator. London: Hogarth Press; Standard Edition.

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In: Totem and Taboo. In: The Unconscious. In: The Ego and the Id. In: Analysis Terminable and Interminable. In: An Outline of Psychoanalysis. Grunbaum A. Berkeley: University of California Press; Hartmann H. Essays on ego psychology: selected problems on psychoanalytic theory. Holt R. New York: Guilford Press; James W. The Principles of Psychology. New York: Dover Press; Kihlstrom J.

Why Things Matter The Place of Values in Science, Psychoanalysis and Religion

Pontalis J. The Cognitive Unconscious. Laplanche J. The Language of Psychoanalysis. Neu J. The Cambridge Companion to Freud. Edinburgh: Cambridge University Press; Reiser M. Mind, brain and body: Toward a convergence of psychoanalysis and neurobiology. New York: Basic Books; Ricoeur P.

Conn: Yale University Press; Roth M. Freud: Conflict and Culture. New York: Random House; Sears R. Shervin H. Dickman S. The psychological unconscious: A necessary assumption for all psychological theory. American Psychologist. Wollheim R. Freud: A collection of critical essays. Support Center Support Center. Innovation, on the other hand, is produced in the context of a mere combination of resources that generates new products, new processes, new markets, new forms of organization and new materials.

Whereas novelty is contingent, innovation is part of scientific operation and is, so to speak, foreseen by it. That is why the question that must be asked is if or in what conditions can we speak here of novelty. They are operations that alter the ordinary functioning of language, reducing ordinary multifaceted language to a first order formalizable logic. It is important to emphasize that this is not the result of an ideological manipulation but of maneuvers inherent to formalization.

We should observe that this property intends to control or at least narrow to certain parameters precisely the signifier dimension of language. The dimension that maintains a place for the subject at the same time that it supports the occurrence of the difference not its annulment.

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The mere emergence of a given signifier in a sentence necessarily causes this retroaction. This division is therefore essential to the language so that it can articulate a place in which the subject could emerge. The remarkable aspect of this is that its effect happens through a formal compromise which will determine in a definitive manner the possible results of the operation. Hence, how can we think innovation if the closing limits the order of events itself?

Where the formal operation happens, the results are presented in chain, a result, followed by another and so on. The results are necessarily reached. From the Newtonian perspective, everything that happens is produced in space and everything that happens in space happens in a specific way. That is to say that it is possible to establish the position or the result of what happens from a deducible chain. Furthermore, everything that happens presumes the space as the place where articulations and connections between things and certain events happen. Therefore, we have an operation whose result or conclusion is drawn mandatorily from one or more propositions taken as premises, to a proposition that constitutes its own necessary consequence due to logical rules.

However, in ordinary language, the notion of space includes other dimension that go beyond mathematical ones. Consequently, not everything that happens to the subject happens in a way that can be formalized. Not everything obeys a determined composition law for example, there is the illogical, the indefinite, the mysterious, etc.

It is perfectly acceptable that an accident occurs, the contingencies are considered and it is possible to find something completely heterogeneous to what is expected in certain circumstances. It is this possibility of eruption of ruptures and sections that the property of closing narrows, once every state of things is inscribed there as a possible deduction of formalism.

On this matter, we should revisit our original question. In capitalism, historicity is reduced to economic progress. There are instruments that guarantee that the next step taken will pertain to the previous moment range, as if every transformation were restricted and should necessarily emphasize the accumulation of capital. The place of the market in this system illustrates the closing exigency: everything produced by men including its own workforce is merchandise and has a unique and calculated vectorization value.

In this domain, there is no change, nor actual transformation, as it is extremely difficult for them to happen, due to every result being deducible and contained in the operation that is incessantly repeated. Every result, every output of its replication will bring new functionalities: the camera will have more pixels, the keyboard will accept dictation better, etc.

Innovation is necessary and mandatory. Febvre states that one who lives in a world in which mathematics is still elementary, does not have its reason developed the same way that another who, albeit ignorant or incapable of solving an equation or a complicated problem by himself, lives in a society devoted to the precision of mathematical reasoning, the accuracy of calculation, the elegant ways to demonstrate.

When science takes the subject into consideration it is to take him as the vanishing point for the calculation for example, in the Theory of Games, in linguistics and, in the context of capitalist societies, reinstate it in the calculation for the demand. Science puts the subject of the unconscious into the world, so to speak, when it forecloses him from its operation. Therefore, when Lacan speaks of the foreclosure of the subject by science, it is to describe this specific exclusion mode of the subject by science in a way that necessarily entails the effect of the return to the Real of the subject as unconscious 8.

It is through this return that we can speak of a subject that emerges as a subject of science. This is also where psychoanalysis appears as a social bond, different from others in that it reinstates the place of the subject of the unconscious and desire into scientific consideration. However, if psychoanalysis is born in the context of a culture dominated by science and by the knowledge that its procedures engender, the soil in which psychoanalysis grows is the one that science put aside when it was constituted.

Something that thrives as a vanishing point. Lacan thus defines the emergence of the subject. As the novelty that erupts, and is contingent. His brief formulation leads us to the power of the event. Hence, in psychoanalysis, the subject is the novelty. At the same time, an element of structure — as a return of what was once foreclosed from the symbolic net and that emerges necessarily into the Real — and absolute contingency.

In other words, the subject is an element of radical contingency that limits structural determinism, making what the concept of structure is to psychoanalysis. A structure that contains in itself the place for the choice of a contradictory subject that arises precisely from this choice. It is worth mentioning that in psychoanalysis, the resolve, contingent, is an effect of the signifier.

However, in addition to that, the resolve is created from this element that embodies a central contingency, immovable, that is the emergence and the advent of the subject SILVA, Concerning this, Lacan formulates the subject as a novelty. For there to be an effective presence of the subject in the order of the real, it is still necessary for the subject to have a place in the discourse, in the social bond.

And that is an ethical choice. A choice continuously made and maintained through an act. It is possible to recognize in Lacan the intent of making of science and its operative concepts a direct theme, notably of that which science orbits around and produces: mathematics with its foundation on the letter. Is it the real that have always been there? Whenever one speaks of the birth of psychoanalysis — which is dated, as we will see ahead, all it took was an act from Freud — also appears the question whether the field that psychoanalysis organize would have been operating before Freud.

Thus, before psychoanalysis itself. However, Lacan summons us to go further, and while lifting the first question, he asks another. He isolated the unconscious, which is inherent to the machine that produces sense and significance. After Freud, the machine that, with linguistics but mainly with Lacan, would be called the signifier, language. A machine that produces itself the sexual. Freud undoubtedly did that.


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And that is of the utmost importance. What is at issue is the affirmation of the subject as a responsible instance in the discourse. Without reducing it to the bedrock that would secure the physicochemical exchanges, nor relapsing into transcendentalism, which science itself has made obsolete. It is the reasoning on the language operation that liberates psychoanalysis from ontology and places the fulfillment of subjectivity under the plan of ethics.

An apprehension of our impasses and pathologies that would be independent from the stance of the subject, the desire, the sexual.

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With that, we yield on the ethical question that is introduced by psychoanalysis as a question within the movement of the language itself of never completing the significance and leaving to the subject its responsibility. It is important to repeat: Freud took this step. A device capable of giving a place to the subject, and putting within his reach an ethical choice of his emergence as a subject to be held responsible and take into his own hands what operates unconsciously. It was the subject as such. If innovation is mandatory in science, to psychoanalysis it is contingent. It is connected to the act.

Or should we say that the act is what bring the novelty to psychoanalysis. He observes that we speak of a New Year, but at its closing, it restarts. Since it is a cycle, an act is necessary for it to have a starting point. The same act that sets its ending. If we go even further, we could say that every beginning is an act.

It is about a happening, and this is where the new a new year, for instance depends upon an act. Thus, it is in the scope of a happening that psychoanalysis locates the subject as an effect of the act. Freud formulates this idea through the imperative Wo Es war soll Ich werden. It is a novelty to see a subject appear every time, from the most ordinary speech — precisely from the potentially subversive and troubling one, which modern science decided to mitigate with its by-product, the technical revolution from the 17 th and 18 th centuries. Since an act of speech always bears something that is significant, something that thrives, averse to the wholeness of knowledge, to the massive organization of representation, in psychoanalysis, by its structure, we are far from the obligation of innovation; even further away from its management.

In psychoanalysis, it is first and foremost about rising to the event. It is about the contingent emergence of an ethical position. It is about choice, about fostering, about undergoing, about abiding or not by the dimension of the act that makes way to the new subject. Rio de Janeiro: Contraponto, Rio de Janeiro: Contra Capa, Paris: Albin Michel, Rio de Janeiro: 7letras, Rio de Janeiro: J.

Zahar, The nothing that is: a natural history of zero. Oxford: Oxford University Press,