Becoming a Subject: Reflections in Philosophy and Psychoanalysis

Paperback | March 28, 2008

byMarcia Cavell

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Marcia Cavell draws on philosophy, psychoanalysis, and the sciences of the mind in a fascinating and original investigation of human subjectivity. A 'subject' is a creature, we may say, who recognizes herself as an 'I', taking in the world from her own subjective perspective; who is an agent,doing things for reasons, sometimes self-reflective, and able to assume responsibility for herself and some of her actions. The idea of a 'subject' points, then, toward an ideal. It asks for the conditions under which a human infant becomes a subject, and for the sorts of things, like self-deceptionand massive anxiety, that get in the way. What sorts of questions are these? Certainly philosophical. They burrow into central issues in moral philosophy: freedom of the will, the 'self', self-knowledge, the relations between reason and passion, between autonomy and self-knowledge, issues that form roughly the second half of the book. Theylead also into metaphysics and epistemology: Is subjectivity incompatible with objectivity? Are subjects not also objects in the real world? As such, how are they to be treated? Would it be possible, in theory, for a creature to become a subject in the absence of relationships with other subjects?But the questions are also practical. In particular they are at the heart of psychoanalysis both as a theory of the mind, and as a therapy which aims at maximizing the ideals of autonomy and self-knowledge implicit in the very idea of a 'subject'. One of the guiding premises of Becoming a Subject is that philosophical investigation into the specifically human way of being in the world cannot separate itself from investigations of a more empirical sort. Cavell brings together for the first time reflections in philosophy, findings inneuroscience, studies in infant development, psychoanalytic theory, and clinical vignettes from her own psychoanalytic practice.

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Marcia Cavell draws on philosophy, psychoanalysis, and the sciences of the mind in a fascinating and original investigation of human subjectivity. A 'subject' is a creature, we may say, who recognizes herself as an 'I', taking in the world from her own subjective perspective; who is an agent,doing things for reasons, sometimes self-ref...

Marcia Cavell is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of California at Berkeley.

other books by Marcia Cavell

The Psychoanalytic Mind: From Freud to Philosophy
The Psychoanalytic Mind: From Freud to Philosophy

Paperback|Feb 1 1996

$51.27 online$53.50list price
Format:PaperbackDimensions:192 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.47 inPublished:March 28, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199287090

ISBN - 13:9780199287093

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Neuroscience, Psychoanalysis, and Memory2. The Anxious Animal3. Keeping Time: Remembering, Repeating, and Working Through4. Triangulation, the Social Character of Thinking5. On Judgment6. Self-Reflections7. Irrationality and Self-Transcendence8. Freedom and Forgiveness9. Valuing the Emotions10. Self-Knowledge and Self-Discovery11. Good and EvilAppendix: Knowledge, Consensus,and Uncertainty

Editorial Reviews

`Review from previous edition Philosophers sceptical about the claims or use of psychoanalytic theory will do well to look particularly at the first two chapters EL Four central ideas -- central to psychoanalysis and central to understanding the self -- emerge as important for philosophers tonote: the prevalence of unconscious mental functioning; the implications of different forms of memory; the importance of anxiety and defence; and the way the past constantly informs the present EL [The book is] rich in ideas, and both philosophers and psychoanalysts will find insights that inspirenew thoughts and new directions of thought.'Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews