[SydPhil] UOW Philosophy Seminar: Dr. Talia Morag "A New Theory of the Unconscious"

michael kirchhoff michael.david.kirchhoff at gmail.com
Mon Aug 17 09:27:52 AEST 2015

UOW Philosophy Seminar Series, Spring 2015. All are welcome!

*Speaker*: Dr. Talia Morag (University of Sydney)

*Title*: A New Theory of the Unconscious

*Abstract*: The term “unconscious” is currently used in the philosophy of
emotion and in moral psychology, to designate emotions, beliefs and desires
that are unavailable to consciousness or to self-awareness. But nowhere in
the literature is this “unavailability” explained or described. Equating
the term “unconscious” with the kind of unawareness involved in
sub-personal processes as sometimes occurs in scientifically oriented
philosophy of psychology, I argue, does not capture the kind of
unconsciousness implied when it comes to motivational attitudes for which
we hold people responsible. Turning to psychoanalysis that presupposes the
existence of the unconscious in its explanations of a range of mental
phenomena, reveals a plurality of problematic notions, famously criticized
as mysterious or mythical, incoherent, or pseudo-scientific (Wittgenstein,
Sartre, Grünbaum and Crews). And yet without some conception of the
unconscious we are left with a range of unexplained behaviors and with the
implausible idea that we are basically transparent to ourselves.

In this paper, I propose to clear the unconscious from metaphors and
scientific pretentions, and unpack it in terms of ordinary psychological
capacities that are neither magical nor scientific, yet nevertheless
causally effective within the framework of a more permissive or Liberal
Naturalism (Macarthur, De-Caro). I offer a new understanding of the
Freudian unconscious and its motivational role, which does not take
recourse to a mysterious “place” in the mind, to homuncular views, to
scientific metaphors or to reductive ambitions.

*When*: Wednesday 19 August

*Time*: 3.30-5.00pm

*Where*: Building 21 (Early Start), room 114

*Contact*: Dr. Michael Kirchhoff (kirchhof at uow.edu.au)


*Dr. Michael D. Kirchhoff *
Lecturer in Philosophy
School of Humanities and Social Enquiry
Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts
University of Wollongong NSW 2522
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