What Are You Reading…On Psychoanalysis

Every so often I come across an article about the psychology of some prominent figure. Sometimes it is a politician, sometimes a celebrity, sometimes a person representing an influential populace. These articles focus on what these people are thinking, what internal drives motivate them, and how their daily experiences encourage them to act in certain ways, among other topics. Reading one recently led me to reflect on the relationship between philosophy and psychoanalysis, and how one of philosophy’s long-term goals, seeking the rational basis of existence, had to be reevaluated in light of the insight that we are often motivated by drives that influence our concept of rationality. While very few, if any, philosophers claim that rationality is dead, understanding the psychic factors which produce it has sparked many projects.

The relationship between philosophy, psychoanalysis, and truth seems as salient today as ever, since so much of what passes for contemporary discussion consists of staking out one’s stance as rational while dismissing one’s interlocutors as fundamentally biased. Public appreciation of truth has atrophied, while the insights of psychologists who study unconscious drives have been used not to inform, but to justify never having to listen to others. Considering this, the following articles which discuss the relationship between psychoanalysis and philosophy seem well worth a read.

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