1st Edition

Psychoanalysis and the Mind-Body Problem

Edited By Jon Mills Copyright 2022
    402 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    402 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Winner of the 2022 NAAP Gradiva Award for Best Edited Book

    In this volume, internationally acclaimed psychoanalysts, philosophers, and scholars of humanities examine the mind-body problem and provide differing analyses on the nature of mind, unconscious structure, mental properties, qualia, and the contours of consciousness.

    Given that disciplines from the humanities and the social sciences to neuroscience cannot agree upon the nature of consciousness—from what constitutes psychic reality to mental properties, psychoanalysis has a unique perspective that is largely ignored by mainstream paradigms. This book provides a comprehensive exploration of the mind-body problem in various psychoanalytic schools of thought, including philosophical and metapsychological points of view.

    Psychoanalysis and the Mind-Body Problem will be of interest to psychoanalysts, philosophers, neuroscientists, evolutionary biologists, academics, and those generally interested in the humanities, cognitive science, and the philosophy of mind.

    List of Contributors

    Introduction: Minding the Body and the Embodied Mind

    1. A Critique of Materialism

    Jon Mills

    2. Notes Toward the Psychoanalytic Critique of Mind-Body Dualism

    Barnaby B. Barratt

    3. Freud's Views on Mental Causation

    Claudia Passos-Ferreira

    4. Developing a Metaphysical Foundation for Analytical Psychology

    Erik Goodwyn

    5. Lacan on Mind and Body

    Shlomit Yadlin-Gadot

    6. Self and the Experience of Interiority

    Jurandir Freire Costa

    7. The 'Hard Problem' of Consciousness

    Mark Solms

    8. Mentalizing from/to/with the Body

    Elliot Jurist

    9. A Revised Psychoanalytical Model of Mind and Communication in Body-Mind Continuity

    Anna Aragno

    10. Unconscious Experience

    Jon Mills

    11. The Plumbing of Political Economy: Marxism and Psychoanalysis Down the Toilet

    Adrian Johnston

    12. The Dionysian Primate: Goethe, Nietzsche, Jung and Psychedelic Neuroscience

    Gary Clark

    13. Creativity in Cyborgs: Mind, Body and Technology: Plesnner's Spatial Phenomenology as a Basis for a Jungian Metaphysics

    Joeri Pacolet

    14. The Embodied Analyst: The Mind-Body Impact of Sustained Clinical Practice

    Alan Michael Karbelnig


    Jon Mills, PsyD, PhD, ABPP is a philosopher, psychoanalyst, and retired clinical psychologist. He is on Faculty in the Postgraduate Programs in Psychoanalysis & Psychotherapy, Gordon F. Derner School of Psychology, Adelphi University, USA; Department of Psychosocial & Psychoanalytic Studies, University of Essex, UK; and is Emeritus Professor of Psychology & Psychoanalysis at Adler Graduate Professional School in Toronto, Canada. Recipient of numerous awards for his scholarship, he is the author and/or editor of 30 books in philosophy, psychoanalysis, psychology, and cultural studies.

    "This book articulates a rich set of links between psychoanalysis and the philosophical mind-body problem. The psychoanalytic and the philosophical traditions have many points of overlap. Both traditions articulate distinctive frameworks for the relationship between brain and mind. Both focus especially on the role of conscious and unconscious processes. Both give distinctive roles to the body and to the emotions. The essays in this book examine these connections to show both how philosophy can shed light on psychoanalysis and how psychoanalysis can shed light on philosophy."

    David Chalmers, University Professor of Philosophy and Neural Science, New York University; author of The Conscious Mind and Reality+

    "Psychoanalysis has had a very difficult time evolving from its roots in Nineteenth Century positivism into the multiple perspectives which comprise contemporary psychoanalytic thought. Jon Mills’ new book, Psychoanalysis and the Mind-Body Problem is a scholarly tour de force that brings psychoanalytic scholarship into the present. It is rare to find an anthology which can so clearly explicate contemporary, philosophical, ethical, theoretical, neuropsychological, cognitive, economic and psychedelic dimensions of the ongoing psychoanalytic conversation. Mills’ strategy of focusing on the body as central to contemporary psychoanalysis achieves this goal and highlights the difficulties that the separation of mind and body has created for psychoanalytic theoreticians and clinicians. As both an author and a practicing psychoanalyst I have found the ideas in this book extremely useful in understanding persistent theoretical and clinical problems. Because of my interests, I found the chapters on the unconscious, mentalization, and Lacanian theory very thought provoking. Other readers will also find particular chapters which speak more directly to them. I highly recommend this very evocative book to psychoanalysts, psychologists, mental health practitioners and scholars who will find this to be an extremely valuable addition to their library."

    Joseph Newirth, PhD, ABPP, Emeritus Professor, Derner School of Psychology, Adelphi University; author of Between Emotion and Cognition: The Generative Unconscious and From Sign to Symbol...

    "In this intriguing collection, the authors address the interaction of mental and bodily functions as these are experienced (or not experienced) consciously or outside of conscious awareness. The authors are experts in their wide-ranging areas – from the interior perspectives of soul to the scientific study of brain; and they address these dimensions with the complexity that the concepts demand. The editor and the authors have produced a volume to visit and revisit, for those who are interested in psychoanalysis, and more broadly in underlying theories of emotional, somatic and cognitive organization."

    Wilma Bucci PhD, author of Psychoanalysis and Cognitive Science: A Multiple Code Theory; Emotional Communication and Therapeutic Change; and Understanding Psychotherapy Through Multiple Code Theory

    "Psychology can be said to have begun with the mind body problem first made salient by Rene Descartes. What is the mind? How is it different from the body? How shall we study it? All of the early pioneers of the field attempted to deal with these problems. William James seems to have left psychology and devoted himself to philosophy (at least partly) in an effort to address it. The functionalists tried to finesse the problem by making the distinction a methodological one. The behaviorists tried to solve it by declaring only the body to be real, thereby eliminating the mind. And then, it seems, everyone in the field ignored and or forgot about the problem. Psychoanalysis, which focuses on unconscious mental processes, which do not fit into Cartesian dualism, would appear to offer fruitful and creative ways to tackle this issue. But the problem seems to have never been directly addressed in psychoanalytic circles. Until now.

    Jon Mills has edited a book that tackles this difficult issue head on. He has assembled a group of distinguished scholars who, using a psychoanalytic framework, address important and thorny philosophical issues related to the relationship between mind and body. The chapters represent a feast of psychoanalytic diversity. Dr. Mills approaches the problem from a Hegelian dialectical angle. Adrian Johnston takes what might be described as an anal/Marxist dialectical/Lacanian approach. Yadlin-Gadot takes us on a tour of Lacan’s views that pertain to this issue. Other chapters make use of too often neglected Jungian ideas (Goodwyn, Pacolet). Neuroscience is here as well, reviewed by Dr. Solms, an internationally renowned expert in the area. And Dr. Jurist reviews recent work on embodied cognition and mentalization that bears importantly on this topic.

    Anyone wanting to be stimulated by what psychoanalysis can contribute to an age-old issue would do well to study the chapters in this text. This is not an easy read; many of the ideas are complex and original. But it is more than worth the effort."

    Joel Weinberger, PhD, Professor of Psychology, Adelphi University; author of The Unconscious