Title

Hegel’s Account Of The Unconscious And Why It Matters

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

3-1-2014

Published In

Review Of Metaphysics

Abstract

Hegel’s account of the unconscious and his broader philosophy of mind offer us a well worked out form of non-dualist, non-reductionist, non-eliminativist, non-representationalist naturalism. Hegel describes the development of discursively structured thought (and responsiveness to norms) in ethological terms as emerging from initial somatic-sensory states, from states and processes of bodily activity on the part of a feeling soul, and from structured habituation in relation to other subjects. Importantly, earlier, less organized states of sensory awareness and feeling persist as residues underneath cognitive development in “the pit of imagination.” Imagistic and sensory-somatic materials from this pit can burst out, among other things, in dreams, madness, somnambulism, witty conversation, and puns. In the face of the permanent possibility of regressions from cognitive development, a continual activity of self-formation (Bildung) through art and participation in second nature is essential to maturity.

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