In 'Unconscious knowing and other essays in psycho-philosophical analysis', Linda Brakel tackles a range of fascinating and puzzling phenomena that lie at the border between psychoanalysis and philosophy of mind. These include - unconscious knowing, vagueness, agency, the placebo effect, and even explanation itself. Unique in its use of tools and concepts from both philosophy and psychoanalysis, the book demonstrates how this interdisciplinary approach can provide some unique solutions to some impenetrable problems.
Following the introduction, chapter two on 'unconscious knowing' puts forward a radical epistemological view of knowledge and belief, providing evidence from psychoanalytic data and empirical research, using the subliminal method.
Chapter three considers philosophical accounts of vagueness in relation to a-rational mentation, finding surprising similarities.
In Chapter four, an original account of agency is developed whilst discovering that a central problem for analysands is quite analogous to an important philosophical problem: namely, when I am concerned with my own survival, just what is the nature of the 'me' of concern?
In Chapter five the mysterious placebo effect is made more understandable in terms of the basic psychoanalytic concepts that are shown to underlie it.
Finally, chapter six concludes the book with an examination of explanations in general, including those in the proceeding chapters.
This is a book that will be of great interest to those within both psychoanalysis and philosophy of mind, offering up some compelling explanations for some puzzling phenomena.
Linda A.W. Brakel is an adjunct Associate Professor in Psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical School, and an Associated Scholar at that university's Department of Philosophy. She is also a practicing psychoanalyst, and a faculty member at the Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute. Brakel's research on a-rational thinking, at the crossroads of psychoanalytic theory and the philosophy of mind and action, includes empirical research on categorizations and dual processes, as well as philosophical and psychoanalytic articles. Prior to the current volume, her most recent publication is Philosophy, Psychoanalysis, and the A-Rational Mind (OUP, 2009)
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