Volume 80, Issue 4, Fall 2006
The Unconscious and Conscious Self: The Nature of Psychical Unity in Freud and Lonergan
This article compares the accounts of psychical unity in Freud and Lonergan. Following a detailed account of Freud’s understanding of psychical structure and
his deterministic psycho-biological presuppositions, Lonergan’s understanding of psychical structure in relation to patterns of experience is discussed. As opposed to Freud’s theory, which is based on an imaginative synthesis of the classical laws of natural science, Lonergan considers psychical and organic function as concretely integrated in human functionality according to probabilistic schemes of recurrence. Consequently, Lonergan offers a theory of the psychological problems of repression and inhibition not primarily as functions of subverted organic desires, but more properly according to the functioning of intellectual bias. Lonergan thereby provides a more comprehensive understanding of the unity of the human self at the psychical level.