Volume 42, 2018
Philosophy and Psychoanalysis
The Contribution of Psychoanalysis to a General Theory of Mind
In this paper I am going to present several ideas selected from the field of two important current inputs to the interface of philosophy and psychoanalysis. First, there is the study of Linda Brakel who confronts Freudian unconscious with meaning theory, i.e. the philosophy of Donald Davidson. Brakel feels that the approach of Davidson/Cavell misinterprets the Freudian concepts and robs it of its central characteristics. She insists in the primary process which she describes as representational, contentful and a-rational. The second input is to be found within today’s reception of Kant in the epistemological field. The debates depart from the controversial issue of whether Kant was a conceptionalist or a non-conceptionalist and frequently refer to McDowells Mind and World. Then I will present my own approach that combines psychoanalytical ideas with an application of Peircean categories (First, Second and Third). My aim is to show that this approach contributes to the understanding of mind in general. In comparing the philosophical concepts with psychoanalytical ones, I will point out the specific place of psychoanalytical concepts within the theory of knowledge. I will conclude by pleading for the integration of the psychoanalytic ideas into a broader theory of thinking. Furthermore, the meaning of this integration on psychoanalysis itself will be evaluated.