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Science(s) of the Mind


Science(s) of the Mind: Fort-Da between the Windscreen and the Rearview Mirror Anup Dhar

The body of knowledge we call Science [of the mind] is made up of facts and fancies. The facts constitute the observational data which provide the materials for the edifice of science and fancy acts as the mortar which cements such materials and arranges them in certain patterns evolving a definite architecture. This fancy is the mother of theories which are so essential to the development of any science. The scientist takes care that his fancy is kept within proper limits otherwise it is likely to be more a hindrance than a help to him. Girindrasekhar Bose – A New Theory of Mental Life, 1966

This paper tries to think the ‘science(s) of the mind’. It thinks the sciences of the mind in terms of the interminable Fort-Da1 between the ‘windscreen’ and the ‘rearview mirror’. The fort-da between the windscreen and the rearview mirror represent for us the difficult task of navigation – navigation between the windscreen view (the view of the ‘present’ and/or the view of the ‘future’) and the rearview mirror (the view of the ‘past’), navigation between the view one gets through the windscreen (the view of biomedical psychiatry, neurobiology and cognitive science) and the view one gets through the rearview mirror (the view of the lunatic asylum, experimental psychology and behaviorism ). The urge and inspiration for this paper also flows from my experiences in the immediate present. In that sense, it flows from what I get to ‘see’ through the windscreen, get


Freud (Beyond the Pleasure Principle, 1920) describes a game his grandson invented at the age of one and a half. He used to throw small objects away from him, and then say “o-o-o-o.” He also took a wooden reel attached to a piece of string, and threw it over the edge of his cot, so that it disappeared. After saying “o-o-o-o,” he would pull it back to himself and say, “Da.” Freud understood him to be saying Fort and Da (German for gone and there). While the boy child’s Fort-Da was between disappearance and return, between absence and presence, ours is between the windscreen and the rearview mirror.

Science(s) of the Mind


to see in terms of the immanent present and the immediate future. It flows from my experiences around science in general and medicine in particular. It flows from my discomfort with the workings of medicine in general and psychiatry in particular. To make sense of my discomfort I sometimes take recourse to the rearview mirror. Recourse to the rearview mirror in terms of a turn to the history of psychiatry-psychology-psychoanalysis was even more necessary because fellow doctors and psychiatrists were not much concerned with questions of mind or of mental phenomena and were satisfied with the mere prescribing of drugs to the mentally ill. It appeared that a meaningful engagement with the ‘client’ in the clinic could be possible only and only if the ‘healer’ was attentive at one and the same time to the contingent question of ‘suffering’ as also to the more general question of the ‘philosophy of mind’ and the ‘science of the mind’. This is, as if, a “looking ahead” and a “looking behind” (albeit as reflected in the rearview mirror) in their simultaneity as to “speak with suffering” (speak with and not speak on or speak to suffering) as also to think the science-art of healing. Therefore, this paper cannot but face up to the question “of what nature is the mind”. What is the nature of the mind/‘mental’? However, such questions also invite the retort “whose mind?” Further, is the mental a unified domain? Is there a single and universal ‘criterion of the mental’? What belongs to the realm of the properly mental? Perhaps we need to be open to the prospect of discovering that what we commonly classify as mental has no significant unity of nature – “indeed that our customary classification of various phenomena as belonging to the ‘mind’ [or the ‘mental’] is a mere historical and cultural accident” (McGinn, 1998: 2-3). Philosophers and scientists have hardly demonstrated any consensus on the question of what belongs to the realm of the properly mental. McGinn (1998: 3) feels that it may well turn out that “the concept of the mind approximates to what is called the a ‘family resemblance’ concept, similar to the concept of a game: that is, calling a phenomenon mental

Science(s) of the Mind


is not recording the possession of some interesting single property on the part of all and only phenomena so called, but is rather a matter of drawing attention to a large number of similarities and connections which are incapable of summary capture in any simple formula.” The other question that one needs to contend with while discussing the science(s) of the mind is the relation between the ‘normal’ mind and the ‘abnormal’ mind; what is a science of the abnormal mind; what is a science of the ‘mind of unreason’/‘unreason of mind’? Is the question of the science of the mind fundamentally skewed once we bring in the question of the ‘unreason of minds’ or the ‘minds of unreason’? Further, does the question of the unconscious and of the constitutive irrationality of the human condition give a further spin/tweak to the science(s) of the mind? This paper would therefore like to discuss science(s) of the mind in three mutually constitutive layers. In the first layer, we would discuss the science(s) of the mind as such, more specifically, in its western moorings; in the second, we would discuss the sciences in the context of the question of non-Reason; in the third, we would discuss the sciences in the context of the question of the unconscious. The other aspect the paper should have looked into is the question of our science(s) of the mind; not the whole of our science(s) of the mind; the whole of our sciences being both a rather cosmic and a disaggregated-contradictory field. In that sense, the last layer of the paper would have liked to take a glimpse at the ab-original sciences of the mind; but such an enquiry, necessary as it may be, remains at present beyond the scope of this paper.

Science(s) of the Mind


History of the Science(s) of the Mind:

I have spent the past twenty years not so much trying to answer the question “What is psychology?” as trying to recover a sense of what the question is. I was led, almost simultaneously, back to Plato and Aristotle, to Freud and psychoanalysis, and to Wittgenstein. (Lear, 1998: 9).

To think a ‘science of the mind’ perhaps one needs to first map the existing (or even the extinct) sciences of the mind; and then place one’s own science of the mind in relation to given map of the science(s) of the mind; and to map the science(s) of the mind perhaps one needs to write first a history of the science(s) of the mind. However, how would we write a history of the science(s) of the mind? Do we write it through what we get to see through the rearview mirror? What is a history of the science(s) of the mind? Is it a simple, seamless and continuous flow from origin to end? Is the history of the science(s) of the mind to be understood in terms of an increasing formalization of knowledge – a formalization that could be understood and represented in terms of the metaphor of a ‘step ladder’? On the other hand, is the metaphor of the stepladder an inadequate metaphor? Is the history of the science(s) of the mind much more complex than the simple movement along a stepladder? Is it a journey with ruptures, with fundamental shifts, unexpected turns, and sharp breaks? Is it a simple journey from the ‘ancient’ to the ‘modern’; where the ‘ancient’ is purportedly the space of the ‘non-scientific’ and the ‘modern’ the space of the scientific. Is science an increasing formalization of knowledge? Is a movement from lower knowledge to higher knowledge; from less accurate knowledge to knowledge that is more accurate? Or is it a shift from one form of knowledge to another? Is it a shift from one paradigm to another? This is important because we would resist the passing off the science/art of healing minds as biomedical psychiatry. First, there is no one science of the mind and the science(s) of the mind cannot be collapsed into (bio-medical) psychiatry. We would resist the passing off western schools of

Science(s) of the Mind


‘mental health science’ (Wundt-ian, Freudian, Behavioral, Phenomenological, Gestalt, Existential/Rogerian, Cognitivist etc.) – or native-colonial traditions of ‘healing of the mind’ (Ayurvedic, Yogic, Tantric etc.) as dead tributaries of a more majestic and lively stream of modern knowledge, ‘Psychiatry’ or for that matter ‘Bio-medical Psychiatry’. Thus for us, the history of the science(s) of the mind is not a passage from non-knowledge to Knowledge, from darkness to Light. For us it is a passage from one form of knowledge to another form of knowledge, from one shade to another shade, from one language game to another, from one web of belief to another.2 For us the history of the science(s) of the mind is not a history of dates/events/individuals; but a history of concepts, of conceptual structures; it is for us a history of knowledge in general and history of schools of thought in particular. In other words, it is the history of ideas as also of ideals; not just a history of ideas but also a history of ideals; ideals – because at times certain ideas within the history of the science(s) of the mind become hegemonic and emerge as ideals. Such ideals determine at that point of time what would come to be known as the science of the mind. In the early part of the 20th century, it was psychoanalysis; later behaviorism emerged as the ideal; at present, it is cognitive science; later still, it would perhaps be neurobiology and psychopharmacology. The journey is as if like this …


This may sound relativistic; but since at present there is no single across the board evaluative criterion with which to assess the epistemic legitimacy of the science(s) it is better not to arrange them into neat hierarchies of science and non-science. The other problem is whether we would ever be in the possession of an across the board evaluative criterion; or would paradigms continue to resist commensurability?

Science(s) of the Mind


Experimental Psychology (Wilhelm Wundt) Psychoanalysis (Sigmund Freud - Carl Jung - Girindrasekhar Bose - Karen Horney – Melanie Klein – Jacques Lacan)

Behaviorism (Skinner, Watson, Pavlov)

Phenomenology Gestalt Existentialism

Cognitive Science-Artificial Intelligence

Neuro-Physiology-Pharmacological Psychiatry

… and each time some idea emerged as the ideal. Represented somewhat telegraphically each idea(l) had a particular focus like the ones given below –




behavior-objective visibles

Phenomenology Gestalt Existentialism

first person subjective states

Cognitive Science - AI




The next section is a voyage through each of these idea(l)s; voyage in terms of the conceptual structure of each idea(l); voyage in terms of how such conceptual structures form a complex and disaggregated and contradiction-ridden plethora with respect to the science(s) of the mind.

Science(s) of the Mind


(1) Physiological/Experimental Psychology: Wilhelm Wundt’s physiological psychology, which focused on the border between physiology and psychology, was premised on a form of psychophysical parallelism: for Wundt every physical event has a mental counterpart, and every mental event has a physical counterpart. And he believed that the availability of measurable stimuli (and reactions) could make psychological events open to something like experimental methodology in a way earlier philosophers such as Immanuel Kant thought impossible. This methodology was premised on ‘experimental introspection’: carefully observe some simple event – one that could be measured as to quality, intensity, or duration – and record responses to variations of those events (in German philosophy at that time, sensations were considered psychological events, and therefore “internal” to the mind, even though the sensation is of something that is “outside” the mind). Physiological psychology originally meant experimental psychology, using methods of physiology. Wundt and his students used an experimental version of introspection – the careful observation of one’s perceptions









1. The observer must know when the experience begins and ends. 2. The observer must maintain ‘strained attention.’ 3. The phenomenon must bear repetition. 4. The phenomenon must be capable of variation - i.e. experimentation; in fact, this marks the passage from an exclusively first person point of view to a second person point of view.

For Wundt, mental processes are an activity of the brain, and are not material. Wundt accepted Spinoza's metaphysics of parallelism and spent a great deal of effort refuting

Science(s) of the Mind


reductionism. He believed that consciousness and its activities simply did not fit the paradigms of physical science – even though psychology emerges from biology, chemistry, and physics. With that emergence, consciousness has gained a certain capacity for creative synthesis – another of Wundt's key concepts. Although consciousness operates ‘in’ and ‘through’ the physical brain, its activities cannot be described in terms of only chemistry or physics. In this sense, Wundt is non-reductionist and non-determinist. For him, for example, the ‘perceived color of the sky’ as ‘blue’ is an eminently psychological or subjective event, not reducible to any simple physical explanation. One needs to find out how and when does wavelength, retinal activity, neural firing, and some such activity converge to produce the feeling of ‘blue.’ In that sense, the feeing of ‘blue’ is more than the sum of wavelength, retinal activity and neural firing; in other words, psychological structures are more than just the sum of their parts.

Introspection: Some philosophers think that psychology, in actuality, did not begin with the Wundt-ian, but began with introspection and a first reversal was accomplished by leaving introspection behind and adopting a third person approach which in turn gave way to a second reversal which consisted in once again according a place to the first person point of view (see Pierre Vermersch’s “Introspection As Practice”, 1999: 17-42). Maine de Biran (1807) upheld the use of introspection, of ‘internal sense’, and of ‘apperception’ from the very beginnings of psychology. This initial insistence upon introspection was found again, considerably modified, with several founding figures of the psychology of the nineteenth century, such as Brentano (1874), William James (1890, who described psychology as follows: “Introspective observation is what we have to rely on first and foremost and always”) and Binet (1894, for whom introspection is “the act by means of which we perceive directly what takes place in us, our thoughts, our memories, our emotions”). The beginning of

Science(s) of the Mind


the twentieth century is the great period for the mobilization of the methodology of introspection, which is then presented as scientific and entitled ‘systematic introspection’ or ‘experimental introspection’. Three centres dominate the field – (1) in Paris, Binet and his students, (2) in the United States in Cornell University, Titchener who was trained by Wundt and (3) a group of German researchers – the Wurtzburg School – under Kulpe, a former student of Wundt ([4] Ab-Original Psychoanalysis pioneered by Girindrasekhar Bose in colonial Bengal also focused on a form of ‘introspective meditation’ as means to selfknowledge).

(2) Behaviourism (objectivism): The behaviorist idea(l) was premised on the idea that for psychology to be a science, it must focus attention on what is observable – that is, the environment and behavior – rather than what is only available to the individual – such as perceptions, thoughts, images, feelings. The latter are subjective and immune to measurement, and therefore can never lead to an objective science.

For behaviorists,

psychology is the science of stimuli and responses, of reflexes, of conditioning and of acquired/learned responses. Until the behaviorist turn, rat research was not thought of as significant for understanding human beings. Now study of rats came to be considered a useful model for the study of human behavior. For behaviorists, brain processes were not that important; emotions were bodily responses to stimuli; thought was sub-vocal speech; and consciousness did not mean much. Within the behaviorist idea(l), B. F. Skinner introduced the idea of ‘operant conditioning’, where during “operating” organism encounters a special kind of stimulus, called a reinforcing stimulus; stimulus increases the operant: “the behavior is followed by a consequence, and the nature of the consequence modifies the organisms

Science(s) of the Mind


tendency to repeat the behavior in the future.”3 A behavior followed by a reinforcing stimulus results in an increased probability of that behavior occurring in the future. Both freedom and dignity are examples of what Skinner calls mentalistic constructs - unobservable and so useless for a scientific psychology. The idea of the ‘homunculus’ – Latin for “the little man” – that supposedly resides inside us and is used to explain our behavior, ideas like soul, mind, ego, will, self, and, of course, personality is not meaningful to Skinner. Instead, Skinner recommends that psychologists concentrate on observables, that is, the environment and our behavior in it. Behaviourism is a typical third-person account since it proposes that we define all expressions involving consciousness in terms of bodily behaviour, which can be observed in others as easily as in oneself. However, there may be occasions when there is no outwardly (bodily) behaviour; the essence may lie in what happens inwardly. “A typical behaviourist device for dealing with the fact that a person in a particular mental state may not be behaving in any particular outwardly way is to introduce the concept of a disposition to behave (Shaffer, 1998: 16). The behaviourist idea(l) was to enjoy considerable popularity during the 1960's and even into the 70's. However, both the humanistic movement in the clinical world, and the cognitive movement in the experimental world, was quickly moving in on behaviorism.

(3) Phenomenology (subjectivism): The phenomenological approach tries to think the ‘subjective’4. It stresses the ‘view from the inside’ rather than the ‘view from an outside’. It


An example of operant conditioning would be the case of the ‘rat in the cage’. The cage has a bar or pedal on one wall that, when pressed, releases a foot pellet into the cage. The rat is bouncing around the cage, doing whatever it is rats do, and when the rat accidentally presses the bar a food pellet falls into the cage. The operant is the behaviour just prior to the reinforcer, which is the food pellet. In no time at all, the rat is furiously peddling away at the bar, hoarding pile of pellets in the corner of the cage. 4

Some have tried to think the subjective/subjectivist in terms of Tom Nagel’s question, “what is it like to be a bat?” What is it to negotiate the world in terms of ‘echo-location’? Brute physical facts about bats can be known; one can know the bat’s anatomy-physiology-neurology. However, can we know what it is like to be a bat? Thomas Nagel’s expression ‘what it is like to be’ succeeds in capturing well what it is at stake. ‘What it is like to be’ a bat or a human being refers to how things look when being a bat or a human being. This is what

Science(s) of the Mind


stresses the ‘subjective’ point of view rather than the ‘objective’ point-of-view. It tries to understand the subjective through a careful description of aspects of human life/experience, as they are lived/experienced to improve our understanding of ourselves. In the phenomenological approach, instead of appealing to objectivity for validation, one appeals to inter-subjective agreement. In the phenomenological attitude, one does not prejudge an experience; one asks the experience to tell what it is. The concept that has emerged as crucial in the phenomenological attitude is the concept of ‘intentionality’. However, what is intentionality? “Intentionality … is the general character of consciousness directed toward the other” (Changeux and Ricoeur, 2000: 165)5. For Changeux, intentionality is the highest level of representation, which orients human behaviours and defines our plans of action, our projects – indeed out conceptions of the world. Ricoeur however takes intentionality in a much more encompassing sense, since there is intentionality in emotions as well as in projects and perception. For Ricoeur, intentionality is not reflection, but the general character of consciousness directed toward the other. Intentionality stresses the mutuality of the self and the other; it stresses the mutually constitutive nature of the subject and the object in experience: all










object. Traditionally, we have emphasized the value of the object-pole and denigrated that of the subject-pole. In fact, we have gone so far as to dismiss even the object-pole if it does not correspond to some physical entity. For the phenomenologist, however, even merely private phenomena are facts, which we have no business to ignore. Psychology as a science, which refuses to take account of them as such, will end with a truncated universe. In the

philosophers have called phenomenality since the Presocratics. A phenomenon, in the most original sense of the word, is an appearance and therefore something relational. It is what something is for something else; it is a being for by opposition to a being in itself independently of its apprehension by another entity. 5 For Changeux, the author of Neuronal Man, for Changeux the scientist devoted to the theoretical and experimental study of the elementary mechanisms involved in the functioning of the nervous system and particularly, the human brain the crucial question is – “can intentionality be naturalized”?

Science(s) of the Mind


phenomenological attitude, the crucial process is that of ‘bracketing’: one must put aside all biases one may have about the phenomenon. One must approach without theories, hypotheses, metaphysical assumptions, religious beliefs, or even common sense conceptions. With the phenomenological turn, the mind is again permitted a reality of its own, returning, as Husserl (1965, 1970) put it, to “the things themselves,” or, to use another of his terms, to the ‘lived world’ (Lebenswelt). What makes the mind/mental different from all the rest is intentionality or immanent objectivity; what makes mind different from things is that mental acts are always directed at something beyond themselves: seeing implies something seen, willing means something willed, imagining implies something imagined, judging points at something judged. In 1911, Jaspers was the first psychiatrist who referred to Husserlian philosophy and Husserlian reduction as a method and as a means of knowledge in the psychiatric clinic. His method rests on three major principles (which share the suggestion that any pre-established theoretical knowledge need to provisionally set aside, which is precisely what Husserlian or phenomenological reduction is all about):

(a) direct givenness: only with resort to intuition can clinical matters of fact be experienced directly; by the method of direct access to experience one means an attitude close to that of the transcendental reduction (Husserl, 1955; 1957; 1960) and of its further development in a philosophy of the lifeworld (Schutz, 1964). (b) absence of presuppositions: methodological suspension or setting aside of prejudices or constituted theoretical knowledge which stand in the way of direct access to phenomena (c) making intuitively present: re-presentation (Vergegenwartigung) in Jasper’s sense has nothing to do with Kantian representation; representation signifies the act by

Science(s) of the Mind


means of which I can ‘make present what is not directly present’; in other words, the act of re-presenting consists in the attempt to produce in oneself the experience of the other

The questions that haunt the phenomenological approach: would it even be possible to undertake an authentic overcoming of the primacy of experience of the observer vis a vis the observed given that the psychiatrist alone can only carry out reduction? How does one person make sense of another person, as also of the other person’s experiences and behaviors’; ‘how does one person comprehend or understand (Verstehen) the experiential world of another person’ (Schwartz and Wiggins, 2004: 353), where ‘understanding’ “is the unified apprehension of directly given behavior and its indirectly presented meaning”6. The realm of ‘indirectly presented meaning’ is crucial because meanings acquire their significance from and amidst the overall context of meaning within which one encounters them. The wider context, connectedness and nexus of meaning (the ‘deeper layer’ or the ‘retained continuum’ in the Mystic Writing Pad) is crucial for the apprehension of directly given behaviour (the ‘surface layer’ or the ‘erasable contingent’ on the Mystic Writing Pad). In this context, one can think of three methodological traditions – (1) the introspective approach derived from scientific psychology (2) the method of phenomenological reduction derived from the philosophical tradition of Phenomenology and phenomenological psychology and (3) the pragmatics of meditation practices derived from the Buddhist and Vedic traditions that has informed the science(s) of the mind.


We shall see in the section on psychoanalysis how the overdetermination of ‘directly given behaviour’ (that is what is written on the ‘surface layer’ of the Mystic Writing Pad) and ‘indirectly presented meaning’ (that is what is always already written on the ‘deeper layer’ of the Mystic Writing Pad) would generate contingent ‘understanding’ of self/subjectivity through interpersonal communication in the psychoanalytic clinic.

Science(s) of the Mind


(4) Gestalt Psychology: Founded by Max Wertheimer, Gestalt means a unified or meaningful whole, which was to be the focus of psychological study instead. Gestalt psychology is based on the observation that we often experience things that are not a part of our simple sensations. The original observation was Wertheimer’s, when he noted that we perceive motion where there is nothing more than a rapid sequence of individual sensory events. This is what he saw in the toy stroboscope he bought at the Frankfurt train station, and what he saw in his laboratory when he experimented with lights flashing in rapid succession. The effect is called the phi phenomenon, and it is actually the basic principle of motion pictures. If we see what is not there, what is it that we are seeing? Wetheimer explained that you are seeing an effect of the whole event, not contained in the sum of the parts. We see a coursing string of lights, even though only one light lights at a time, because the whole event contains relationships among the individual lights that we experience as well. Furthermore, say the Gestalt psychologists, we are built to experience the structured whole as well as the individual sensations. And not only do we have the ability to do so, we have a strong tendency to do so. We even add structure to events, which do not have gestalt structural qualities. For example, a set of dots outlining the shape of a star is likely to be perceived as a star, not as a set of dots. We tend to complete the figure, make it the way it “should” be, finish it. The law of closure says that, if something is missing in an otherwise complete figure, we will tend to add it. A triangle, for example, with a small part of its edge missing, will still be seen as a triangle. We will “close” the gap. Isomorphism suggests that there is some clear similarity in the gestalt patterning of stimuli and of the activity in the brain while we are perceiving the stimuli. There is a ‘map’ of the experience with the same structural order as the experience itself, albeit ‘constructed’ of very different materials. We are still waiting to see what an experience ‘looks’ like in an experiencing brain. It may take a while. Golstein developed a holistic view of brain function, based on research that showed

Science(s) of the Mind


that people with brain damage learned to use other parts of their brains in compensation. He extended his holism to the entire organism, and postulated that there was only one drive in human functioning, and coined the term self-actualization. Goldstein and his idea of selfactualization influence quite a few young personality theorists and therapists. Among them would be Gordon Allport, Carl Rogers, and Abraham Maslow, founders of the American humanistic psychology movement.

First-person Methodologies versus Third-person descriptions:

As one negotiates one’s way through the phenomenological and the behaviorist approach, a number of questions surface: how does one negotiate between the subjective, the inter-subjective and the purportedly objective view of the mind? How does one negotiate between the First Person Point of View of one’s own mental events/states (the subjective view) and the Third Person Description of what is (purportedly) going on in the other person’s mind (the objective view)? How does one negotiate between our angle on ourselves (the first person angle which makes self-knowledge special) as opposed to our angle on others and the world (the third person or observer’s angle)? Which one would give us a science of the mind? By first-person methodologies, Francisco J. Varela and Jonathan Shear (2000: 1) mean, “the lived experience associated with cognitive and mental events. Sometimes terms such as ‘phenomenal consciousness’ and even ‘qualia’ are also used, but it is natural to speak of ‘conscious experience’ or simply ‘experience’. These terms imply here that the process being studied (vision, pain, memory, imagination, etc.) appears as relevant and manifest for a ‘self’ or ‘subject’ that can provide an account; they have a ‘subjective’ side.

Science(s) of the Mind


In contrast, third person descriptions concern the descriptive experiences associated with the study of other natural phenomena. Such ‘objective’ descriptions do have a subjective-social dimension, but this dimension is (kept) hidden within the social practices of science. The ostensive, direct reference is to the ‘objective’, the ‘outside’, the content of current science that we have today concerning various natural phenomena, such as physics and biology. Of course, recent history and philosophy of science often suggests that this apparent objectivity cannot be characterized as dealing with ‘things-out-there’, as independent of ‘mental contents-in-here’. This brief reminder that the subjective is already implicit in the objective highlights how the received distinction between the objective and subjective as an absolute demarcation between inside and outside, needs to be closely scrutinized. Dealing with subjective phenomena is not the same as dealing with purely private experiences, as is often assumed. Further, exploring first-person accounts is not the same as claiming that first-person accounts have some kind of privileged access to experience; no presumption of anything incorrigible, final, easy or apodictic about subjective phenomena needs to be made; instead one perhaps needs to overcome the ‘just-take-a-look’ attitude with regard to experience and work in the intermediation and the mutual constitutivity of a firstperson and a third-person perspective7. On the one hand, we wish to avoid as much as possible (first-person) causal mysteries about the workings of the mind; on the other hand, we wish to meet skepticism about (second or third-person accounts of) other people’s minds by providing a reasonable account of what we can know, or justifiably infer, about the mental states of other people. The first (that is the avoidance of causal mysteries) would give rise to naturalism – according to naturalism human beings are complex biological organisms and as such are part of the natural order, being subject to the same laws of nature as everything else in the world. If one would stick to 7

The second-person attitude of Freudian psychoanalysis is perhaps invoked by a working through the constitutive imbrications of a first-person and a third-person perspective.

Science(s) of the Mind


the naturalistic approach one cannot concede that, there is anything to the mind, which needs to be accounted for by invoking spirits, incorporeal souls or anything else, which cannot be integrated with natural science. However, the biggest stumbling block of naturalism is the question of whether ‘thoughts with representational content’ (the so called intentional states such as beliefs and desires) and whether ‘experiences with phenomenal properties’ (the so called subjective states/feels and which are like something to undergo) are themselves suitable for integration with the corpus of scientific knowledge (Botterill and Carruthers, 1999). The second, termed psychological knowledge by Botterill and Carruthers (1999) has two aspects – ‘knowledge of others’ or knowledge of other people’s minds/‘mental states’ and ‘knowledge of ourselves’ (self-knowledge). Different accounts of the mental will yield different stories about how we can have knowledge of it, or indeed whether we can have knowledge at all. So a science of the mind ought to fit with a reasonable view of the extent and nature of psychological knowledge. In this context, the other questions that haunt us are: how does one account for the irreducible nature of value, the question of the irreducible nature of intentionality, and the special character of self-knowledge? How do we negotiate between (1) ‘knowledge of our own states of mind’, (2) ‘knowledge of intentional and propositionally specified states of mind’ such as beliefs and desires8 and (3) qualitative and phenomenal states of mind such as pain and sensations? How do we distinguish between self-knowledge and knowledge of the ‘external world’? What is it to have knowledge of the external world at all? The science(s) of the mind would therefore have to negotiate through the Borromean Knot of (1) the ‘first


A propositional attitude involves taking up an attitude such as of believing or desiring or hoping or fearing to something where this something is readily expressible in propositional form. Thus a belief will normally be expressed or at least expressible as ‘X believed that so-and-so’ and a hope as ‘Y hoped that such and such’. The attitude operates over or governs the propositional content, which is linguistically identified by the ‘that’ clause following the verb. In this way of talking, most (but not all) mental events are held to be expressible in propositional form and so are legitimately called ‘propositional attitudes’. However, some mental events such as certain feelings, like pain, are considered inexpressible in propositional form and so are not called propositional attitude.

Science(s) of the Mind


person perspective’ and the question of ‘self-knowledge’ as against the third person or the observer’s angle, (2) the question of ‘value/commitment/norm’ as against natural fact and (3) ‘freedom/agency’ as against passivity/determinism:

Freedom-agency Value (commitment)

First person perspective- Self-knowledge

The other way of mapping the science(s) of the mind would be to do ask whether philosophy could say anything about the scientific study of the mind, say it in advance of empirical enquiry. Can philosophy set any limits to psychological investigation? Would the perspective of ‘philosophy of psychology’, perspective of the logic of the psyche help us get a better sense of the science(s) of the mind? It is in this context that one needs to contend with the distinction between the concerns of a philosophy of mind and the concerns of scientific empirical psychology. What does philosophy have to say about scientific enquiry? Is the human mind amenable to scientific enquiry the way the human body is? Or would investigations of the human mind be restricted to the largely speculative realm of a philosophy of mind? Or would philosophy of mind be continuous with psychology? Or does philosophy of mind represent a primitive stage of enquiry into the mind, to be left behind when experimental methods are extended to cover areas of the mental hitherto insusceptible to properly scientific study? Or is it the task of philosophy of mind to analyze and clarify the

Science(s) of the Mind


theoretical concepts and methods employed by the science of psychology? Or does the philosophical and the scientific studies of mind treat of different subjects-matters – the latter dealing with mental phenomenon themselves and the former (merely) with our concepts of them? But how could they be related (McGinn, 1998: 3)? Isn’t the relation fundamental to the thinking of a science of the mind?

The Mind-Body Problem: Immateriality-Materiality?

To think the science(s) of the mind one also needs to think the mind-body problem; think at about the same time the question of the materiality/immateriality of mind – modern philosophy of mind is almost exclusively concerned with the mind-body problem; how meaning, rationality and conscious experience is related to, or arises from, a material world which, in itself, is devoid of such characteristics? Hence one needs to ask: is the mental an independent ontological domain? If the mind, following Descartes, is ‘a thinking and extended thing,’ the problem, then, is in explaining the relationship between the mind and an extended unthinking body. The mind-body problem is formulated in terms of the question: how are individual mental states related to physical states?

The Question of Reductionism:

‘the brain has muscles for thinking as the legs have muscles for walking’ – La Mettrie ‘the brain secretes thought just as the liver secretes bile’ – Karl Vogt

Scientific reductionism is the view that higher-level theories can be reduced to lowerlevel theories through ‘bridge-laws’; this is possible because there is a unique lowest level to

Science(s) of the Mind


which finite number of higher levels could be reduced step by step. Reductionist assumptions are premised on the understanding that the science(s) of the mind (psychiatry-psychologypsychoanalysis) could all be reduced to biology; biology could be reduced to chemistry; and chemistry could be reduced to physics, to what is really real (Oppenheim and Putnam, 1958). In the particular science of the mind called bio-logical psychiatry it underpins the assumption that brain imaging techniques are ipso facto ways of seeing the mind. Thus a reductionist view would presuppose that “the physical is all there is”. It would also presuppose the fact that the sciences could ultimately be unified. It can be unified because all that there is are ultimately different expressions of one singular (material/physical) base. Driven by the dream of such a moment when the sciences could ultimately be unified some believe that science is or needs to be fundamentally deterministic; where determinism is, as if, the twin of reductionism; and taking off from such a deterministic attitude one could give shape to a deterministic science of the origin and operations of the mind alongside a deterministic science of the body. For them, since physical science is ultimately deterministic, mental science must also be, because mental states are ultimately or “in the last instance” identical with physical states.


Dualism comes in two forms – weak and strong. Strong dualism (often called Cartesian dualism) is the view that the mind and body are quite distinct kinds of thing – while bodies are physical things, extended in space, which are subject to the laws of physics and chemistry, minds do not take up any space, are not composed of matter, and as such are not subject to physical laws. Weak dualism allows that the subject of both mental and physical properties may be a physical thing – a human being in fact. But it claims that mental

Science(s) of the Mind


properties are not physical ones, and can vary independent of physical properties. Mental properties supervene on physical ones, in such a way that it is impossible to for two individuals to share all of the same physical properties, but differ in their mental ones. Substance dualists argue that mind and body are composed of different substances and that the mind is a thinking thing that lacks the usual attributes of physical objects: size, shape, location, solidity, motion, adherence to the laws of physics. Substance dualists fall into several camps depending upon how they think mind and body are related. Interactionists believe that minds and bodies causally affect one another. Occasionalists, motivated by a concern to preserve the integrity of physical science, deny this. Epiphenomenalists offer a compromise theory, asserting that bodily events can have mental events as effects while denying that the reverse is true, averting any threat to the scientific law of conservation of energy. Property dualists argue that mental states are irreducible attributes of brain states. For the property dualist, mental phenomena are non-physical properties of physical substances. Consciousness is perhaps the most widely recognized example of a non-physical property of physical substances. Dualists commonly argue for the distinction of mind and matter by employing Leibniz's Law of Identity, according to which two things are identical if, and only if, they simultaneously share exactly the same qualities. The dualist then attempts to identify attributes of mind that are lacked by matter (such as intentionality) or vice versa (such as having a certain temperature or electrical charge). Logical Behaviourism was a response to dualism. The classic exposition of logical behaviourism is found in the works of Gilbert Ryle. For Ryle (1949), mental states are complicated behavioral dispositions so that a person’s mental life is related to how he or he is behaving and how he or she is disposed to behave; talk about the mental is not talk about mysterious inner causes of behaviour, it is rather a way of talking about dispositions to behave and patterns of behaviour. Identity Theory takes mental states to be identical to brain

Science(s) of the Mind


states and functionalism argues that mental states stand to neural states in the same relation as software programs stand to computer hardware (Botterill and Carruthers, 1999: 4-12). There are two distinct versions of identity theory – type-identity theory and token-identity theory. Both concentrate on an alleged identity between mental states and events, on the one hand, and brain states and processes, on the other, rather than between mind and brain en masse. Type-identity theory (Place, 1956; Samrt, 1959; Armstrong, 1968) holds that each mental state is identical with some particular type of brain state – for example, that pain is the firing of C-fibres. Token-identity theory maintains that each particular mental state or event is identical with some brain state or event, but allows that individual instances of the same mental type may be instances of different types of brain state or event. The guiding idea behind functionalism is that some concepts classify things by what they do (see Aristotle’s De anima; also Putnam, 1960, 1967); for example, transmitters transmit something. Practically all concepts for artefacts are functional in character. But so, too, are many concepts applied to living things; thus wings are limbs for flying, eyes are organs for seeing. So perhaps mental concepts are concepts of states or processes with a certain function. The diagram below represents somewhat telegraphically some of the questions we have been discussing under the heading materiality-immateriality:

Science(s) of the Mind


Mind and Matter Co-exist


Only Mind –



Two Distinct Substances


Interactionism: Mind-Matter Interact



Matter Acts on Mind but not vice versa

Two Aspects of the same Substance –

Dual Aspect Theory

Functionalism: Mind Not a Substance but a Function

No Interaction

The Interface Problem:

What further light can one throw upon the thinking of the mind/brain as also about the interface problem – the problem of the interface between mind and brain (Bermudez, 2006: 3)? The interface problem is important because philosophy (focused on ‘mental states’ like beliefs, desires, hopes and fears), psychology (focused on ‘capacities’ humans have of interacting with the world – both physical and social) and neurology (focused on the structure and organization of the brain) looking purportedly at three different aspects are for us complementary investigations and one of the problems that haunts us is how, taking off from all three, one could arrive at a theoretical perspective on the ‘mind-brain’. For Bermudez (2006: 4) the interface problem is presented in the following manner: “How does commonsense psychological explanation interface with the explanations of cognition and

Science(s) of the Mind


mental operations given by scientific psychology, cognitive science, cognitive neuroscience and the other levels in the explanatory hierarchy?” Bermudez (2006) identifies four approaches to the interface problem and from each approach arises a particular ‘picture’ of the mind; the four pictures of the mind are:

1. Autonomous mind 2. Functional mind 3. Representational mind 4. Neuro-Computational mind

The picture of the autonomous mind understands mind in terms of an autonomous and independent type of explanation that has no application to the non-psychological world and that interfaces only indirectly with the types of explanation applicable in the nonpsychological realm. In this picture of the mind, the interface problem is not really a problem at all. Autonomy theorists (Donald Davidson, John McDowell, Jennifer Hornsby and Daniel Dennett) argue that there is a fundamental discontinuity between explanations given at the ‘personal level’ of commonsense psychology and explanations given at the ‘subpersonal level’ by psychologists and neurologists; they seek to make a principled distinction between the activities and practices of commonsense psychological explanation, and the explanatory projects in the social, behavioural and neural sciences. They think that the enterprise of making sense of the thoughts and the behaviour of other people is a fundamentally different type of explanatory project from the enterprise of trying to understand the neural and psychological basis of cognition and behaviour. In the picture of the functional mind, there is no fundamental distinction between personal and subpersonal levels of explanation. Commonsense psychological explanations are a species of causal explanation, no more or no less mysterious than the various types of

Science(s) of the Mind


causal explanation with which we are familiar both from science and from our everyday experience of the physical world. Mental states have associated with them a determinate causal role, specifying what gives rise to them, and how they give rise to other mental states and to behaviour. From this perspective (propounded by David Lewis, Robert Van Gulick, Robert Cummins), the key to understanding the mind is understanding the complex network of causal relations that hold between perceptual inputs and mental states; between different mental states; and between mental states and behaviour. The picture of the representational mind (propounded by Jerry Fodor, Georges Rey) shares with the functional picture the view that the essence of the mind is given by the causal dimension of mental states, but takes a rather different approach to the interface problem. The key idea behind the representational picture is that psychological states should be understood in terms of relations to sentences in an internal language of thought, where the language is a physically realized medium of thought that has many of the properties of a natural language. This allows representational theorists to think about thinking in terms of operations that act directly only on the physical properties of those inner sentences, but in a way that is sensitive to the semantic relations between those inner sentences. The causal transitions between states of the representational mind are purely formal in a way that exactly mirrors the transitions between states of a digital computer. In fact, representationalists claim that the mind can be best modelled as a digital computer. At the other end of the spectrum from the conception of the autonomous mind lies the picture of the neurocomputational mind. Like representationalists, proponents of the neurocomputational mind (like Patricia Churchland, Terence Sejnowski, Peter McLeod, Kim Plunkett, Edmund Rolls) are deeply influenced by the requirements of modelling the mind, but they are inspired by a fundamentally different paradigm. Whereas the picture of the representational mind is motivated by the idea that the mind is a digital computer and can be

Science(s) of the Mind


studied as a piece of software, in complete independence of the hardware in which it is implemented, neurocomputational theorists are inspired by research into artificial neural networks, which are computer models of different types of cognitive ability explicitly designed to reflect certain features of how the brain is thought to process information. Here, it would not be altogether out of context to see how Roger Penrose distinguishes four possible views/approaches about a science of the mind:

View 1. All thinking is computation – feelings of conscious awareness could be evoked by carrying out appropriate computations – view 1 could be identified with the strong or hard-line position in Artificial Intelligence (AI). The problem with view 1 is that though machines are excellent at carrying out instructions there is no guarantee that it is imbued with the existence of understanding or consciousness at the moment of carrying out such instructions. It is not a persuasive argument to suggest that the machine understands what it is doing, understanding presumably being one of the attributes of the machine being conscious. One also needs to distinguish between the syntax of the computer program and semantics as also between syntax and psychical processes such as the firing of neurons.

View 2. Awareness is a feature of the brain’s physical action whereas any physical action can be simulated computationally, computational simulation cannot by itself evoke awareness – view 2 is the soft-AI position which does not see awareness arising out of mere computation, even though it assumes that all physical action can be simulated by a computer. Soft AI is unobjectionable from a methodological point of view in that it offers the possibility of designing computer models of certain brain activities that may have relevance to the science of the brain. If indeed the brain functions in a formal way

Science(s) of the Mind


then the approach is justified, since the computer can simulate any formal system, even if does not ‘understand’ anything.

View 3. Appropriate physical action of the brain evokes awareness but this physical action cannot even be properly simulated computationally – view 3 denies that all physical action can be computerized, and in particular the physical action that leads to awareness; view 3 comes closet to the view of Penrose himself (The Emperor’s New Mind







View 4. Awareness cannot be explained by physical, computational or any other scientific terms – view 4 asserts the incompetence of the power of science regarding mind. Interestingly, Penrose rejects this on the grounds that ‘it has been only through the use of the methods of science and mathematics that any real progress in the behaviour of the world has been achieved’. But of course, Penrose means the physical world. But then, what physical action evokes awareness? This takes us back to the fundamental question of the relation between the material and the immaterial.

In this context, it is difficult to forecast whether ‘cognitive psychology’ (another approach in the science(s) of the mind) will prove to be the psychology of the future. Cognitive psychology is, of course, far more sophisticated, philosophically, than behaviorism.

And yet it lacks in sophistication when compared, for example, to

phenomenology. It does, of course, have the tremendous advantage of being tied to the most rapidly developing technology we have ever seen – the computer. But some do not see the computer as ultimately being a good model for human beings, in some ways not even as good as the old white rat, which at least was alive!

Science(s) of the Mind


Mind as embodied

For Toren (2006: 205) mind is the emergent product of a continual process of becoming, one that is mediated by our lives engagement in the peopled world. Our relations with those others whom we encounter in the course of our lives inform the processes through which we constitute our ideas of the lived world of objects and other people. In this view, mind is the fundamental historical phenomenon. For Toren mind is a function of the whole person constituted over time in intersubjective relations with others in the environing world. Torens’ radically phenomenological perspective on mind is derived from Merleau-Ponty (1962) where for Merleau-Ponty subjectivity presupposes inter-subjectivity and the self has to be understood as the always emergent product of the history of its becoming – ‘I am installed on a pyramid of time which has been me’ (1964: 14). Merleau-Ponty’s subject is for itself an other; in other words, the self-conscious awareness of oneself as the subject of one’s own being in the world entails a conscious awareness of one’s otherness, that is, a consciousness of the distance that enables any one of us to ask ourselves questions such as, who am I? Why did I do that? Why do I have this quality and why not that one? Further, for Merleau-Ponty intentionality9 denotes a mode-of-being in the world that is in its nature historical because the human-being-in-the-world entails a consciousness that not only lives the world, but explicitly reflects on itself and the world – “[t]he world is not what I think but what I live through. I am open to the world, I have no doubt that I am in communication with it, but I do not possess it; it is in exhaustible” (1962: xvi-xvii). The embodied but inarticulate structures of consciousness that constitutes the lived knowledge of the infant continue to 9

A key element in Merleau-Ponty’s analysis of the fundamentals of perception is his idea of intentionality. This has two components: (i) that all consciousness is consciousness of something and (ii) that ‘the unity of the world – before being posited by knowledge in a specific act of identification – is “lived” as readymade or already there’ (1962: xvii). The term intentionality derives from the scholastic philosophers of the ‘Middle Ages’ who were interested in issues of representation. These philosophers used the term ‘intentio’ to mean concept and the term ‘esse intentionale’ (‘intentional existence’ by St Thomas Aquinas – c. 1225 - 1274) for the way things can be conceptually represented in the mind. The term ‘intentional existence’ (or ‘inexistence’) was revived by Franz Brentano (1838 – 1917) in his book Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint (1874).

Science(s) of the Mind


assimilate fresh experiences and in doing so arrive at new accommodations to the world that are shaped by those earliest experiences. Toren (2006: 213) thinks that because they are and will continue to be, quite literally, inaccessible in language, and because the sheer fact of living renders them even more complex, these embodied but inarticulate structures of consciousness may be likened to the ‘unconscious’ of psychoanalysis; he feels that MerleauPonty’s idea of intentionality could make possible a psychoanalytic/psychodynamic perspective in the sciences of the mind. We explore this dimension through the invocation of the metaphor of the Mystic Writing Pad in the third section of this paper. To sum up what then is mind? Would we use the term ‘mind’ without thinking of the mind as an object; just as we can use the expression ‘time of the day’ in particular and ‘time’ in general without thinking of it as an object? Would we consider consciousness (that of being conscious or aware of something, paying heed or attention, taking particular notice of something) as the ‘common feature’ and the central element in the concept of mind (Shaffer, 1998: 4)?10 Alternatively, would it be reason/rationality? Some philosophers have concentrated on our capacities to know and reason things out; they have concluded that the essential feature of mind is rationality; this is also reflected in the name of our species – ‘Homo Sapiens’ – ‘Intelligent Man’ (of course, this has in turn opened the floodgates of another set of questions – questions pertaining to the relationality between Reason/rationality and Man/manhood and the constitutive exclusion of woman and unreason through a relegation of woman to the realm of unreason). Others have concentrated on our capacities to conjure up images, have thoughts, feelings, sensations, and experience emotions; for them the essence of the mind lies in its contemplative awareness of a special kind of inner and private object. For some others the essence of the mind lies in its ability to symbolize, form abstractions, and use language. Still others have stressed the fact that thinking, believing, 10

But then “what is consciousness?” What is this something, which humans certainly have, rocks certainly lack, frogs and snakes perhaps have, and we don’t know for certain whether amoebas have it or not?

Science(s) of the Mind


desiring, expecting, hoping, intending and looking for, among others, have objects, which can be thought about, believed, desired, expected, even if these objects do not actually exist at all. The term ‘intentional’ has been used to mark the peculiar status of such objects. We have then in the case of mental phenomena a vast range of phenomena overlapping in various ways without having any essence in common. In the context of such polymorphous approaches to the mind Shaffer (1998: 12) has suggested – “We may say, using Wittgenstein’s concept, that we have a “family” of items in which the members bear a “family resemblance,” like the members of a family who may all resemble one another, even though they have no one feature in common”.

Science(s) of Non-Reason: aapnara shudhu monke bandhte jaanen, monke bujhte paren na (all of you [psychiatrists] know how to rein over minds; you don’t understand the mind)

The other question that one needs to think while discussing sciences of the mind is the relation between a science of reason and a science of non-reason; would there be a distinction; should there be a distinction; would the distinction take shape in the form of a looking down upon non-reason, a representation of non-reason as ‘madness’, as ‘breakdown’. Does non-reason fundamentally skew the given sciences of the mind? While the previous section had dealt more with the question “what is mind” this section tries to understand the question “what is mind” in terms of the question “whose/which mind”; “is it the mind of nonreason”; what is the science of a mind of non-reason; how does one face up to non-reason; how does one think its science. How does one understand other minds, minds that are not exactly reasonable? How does one understand minds and at the same time not rein it in, not

Science(s) of the Mind


make it an object of surveillance and control? We know about our own minds partly through introspection. However, how do we know and understand other people’s minds, especially minds that purportedly are the minds of non-reason? This section therefore foregrounds the “who” question; it takes off from the question of the patient/client in the psychiatric clinic; how does the institution of mental health science treat her? What are her locations within the structure of mental health science? How does the doctor treat her? How does the doctor relate to her? What are the relations between doctor and patient/client? What science(s) of the mind inform the doctor/psychologist? Does the doctor treat the patient as ‘mad’? Does the doctor treat the ‘mad’ as ‘threat’ or as ‘victim’, threat in the society and victim in the psychiatric clinic? How does the medical establishment or the institution of psychiatry respond to the person deemed ‘mad’; to one who is purportedly ‘mad’; to one who is different; different from the ones deemed ‘non-mad’; different from the ones deemed ‘normal’; to one whose expressions are different from those deemed ‘sane’; to one who speaks a different language; language different from that spoken by perhaps the reasonable; language different from reasoned language; language different from the language of reason? How would the sciences of the mind respond to language different from the language of reason; how would it respond to the language of that which is not reason; respond, in other words, to the language of non-reason? Would the medical establishment, would the space of mental health science reduce the language of non-reason to ‘madness’? Would it reduce it to ‘diagnostic categories’? Or would it set up a dialogue with non-reason? Would it make an attempt to speak with non-reason: ‘speak with’ and not ‘speak to’? This paper therefore looks at the relation of non-reason and the institution of mental health science. Does non-reason get reduced to ‘madness’ in the institution of mental health science? Is the category of madness conjured up to foreclose non-reason from the domain of

Science(s) of the Mind


the possible? Does the institution of mental health science only rein in minds? Does it not try to understand minds? Does it attend to the complex vicissitudes of the mind only through reason? Does it attend to non-reason only through reason? Does it work only towards reason? Does it rein in minds by turning away from non-reason? Does the whole of the institution of mental health science turn away from non-reason? Does the institution of mental health science recognize the value of affective processes? Does the institution of mental health science operate somewhat in the model of the detached, disinterested individual knower? Do certain moments in the larger canvas of mental health science attend to non-reason? Are those moments – moments that turn to non-reason – related in ways more than one to a rethinking of the science(s) of the mind? But before one rethinks the science(s) of the mind – both normal and abnormal – one rests on the other – one needs to take a close look at the existing science(s) of the mind. One also needs to take a look at the science(s) of the mind in terms of western science(s) of the mind as also in terms of the science(s) of the mind that could provisionally called ‘ab-original’, where the deployment of the term ab-original comes with a triplet of meaning – one, produced by the aboriginal, two, other than the (western) original or perhaps that which is different from the western original and three, that which attends to aboriginality. To think through some such questions we repeat as representative a statement made by a ‘mentally dis-eased’ – a statement that in a way puts down the user’s perspective, as also the ‘feeling’ of the recipient of mental health care:

aapnara shudhu monke bandhte jaanen, monke bujhte paren na (all of you [psychiatrists] know how to rein over minds; you don’t understand the mind)

How do we understand minds? Is understanding crucial to a science of the mind? Is it all the more crucial in situations when the mind is not that rational? The categories

Science(s) of the Mind


understanding and explanation were introduced by Wilhelm Dilthey (Phillips, 2004: 180190). Dilthey sought to secure for human sciences such as psychology (the Geisteswissenschaften) a methodology that would be different from but on par with the methodology of the natural sciences (the Naturwissenschaften). Dilthey formulated the methodological difference around the distinction between ‘explanation’ (Erklaren) and ‘understanding’ (Verstehen): “We explain nature, but we understand psychic life” (Dilthey, 1924 [1894]: 144); the natural scientist knows his ‘object’ from the ‘outside’, while psychology has for the ‘object’ the ‘human subject’, which one needs to know from the ‘inside’; the natural scientist explains through causal connections, while the psychologist understands through the meaning structure she finds in the text or in another person. It is, as if, ‘I can know the inner life of another person, because I am also a person. I understand the other just as I understand myself, through the network of meanings associated with the behaviour of each’. Because the result of this understanding is not a causal law but, rather, an interpretation of meaning, understanding always involves interpretation. The art (or science) of interpretation is known as hermeneutics. Hermeneutic methodology as distinct from the natural scientific methodology understands, on the one hand, the ‘erasable/changeable contingent present’ of mental life in terms of the ‘retained/unchangeable continuum’ and on the other, the continuum/whole in terms of the present/part. However, for Dilthey hermeneutic understanding does not take place through the narrow limits of an introspective method of self-knowledge, or intuition, or empathy; rather it is the nature of human life to express itself and understanding in the human sciences involves the interpretations of the objectifications of inner life. Hermeneutics for Dilthey is thus the method of interpreting and understanding human expression in its imbrications with life at large.11


The field of hermeneutics has been developed by, among others, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Jurgen Hebermas, Peter Winch, Geor von Wright, Karl-Otto Apel, Paul Ricoeur, Charles Taylor. Another area in which the understanding/explanation distinction has been debated is psychoanalysis. For Ricoeur, the analysand is someone involved in a network of meanings who is, at the same time, caught up in a field of cause-like forces –

Science(s) of the Mind


How would the sciences of the mind attempt an understanding of minds? How would the sciences attend to utterances that are not straightforwardly ‘understandable’? What would be the relationship between doctor and patient? What would be the relationship between the ‘reason of the doctor’ and the ‘(un)reason of the patient’? This takes us to the relationship between the doctor’s Reason and the patient’s non-reason; we move thereafter to the relationship between Reason and non-reason, to the question of Reason knowing non-reason, to the question of reason reducing non-reason to mere madness. From the doctor-patient relationship, a relationship between two persons we move to the relationship between two contending episteme-mindset – ‘Reason’ and ‘non-Reason’. In this relation between two epistemes, in this face to face encounter between Reason and non-Reason, non-Reason does not qualify as an episteme; here non-Reason is reduced to the lacking other of Reason, to that which is not-yet-Reason, to that which is less-than-Reason; here non-Reason is reduced to pre-Reason, to an earlier stage, a more primitive stage of what passes off at present as Reason. From the intersubjectivity of doctor/scientist and client/sufferer, we thus move to the question of knowledge – to a certain violence of knowing and an ethics of knowing. This brings us to the question of the relation of Reason to non-Reason; the pathologization of nonReason as against Cartesian Reason, the re-writing of non-Reason as madness would therefore come up for discussion (even if somewhat tangentially) in this work. We would have to ask whether Reason's relation to non-Reason take off first from a certain ‘knowledge of the mind’, knowledge of the mind, in general? Does it then find itself refracted into a certain ‘knowledge of the normal mind’ and thereafter into a ‘knowledge of the abnormal mind’, the ‘abnormal mind’ being the ‘mind of non-Reason’, or for that matter, of the ‘mind of madness’, the mind of madness being very nearly ‘no mind’ at all? Is it then also a question of the ‘mind’ knowing the ‘no-mind’, the ‘non-mind’? Is it then a question of someone who is to be treated both like a text to be interpreted and like an organism subject to causal mechanisms.

Science(s) of the Mind


‘Reason’ knowing ‘non-Reason’; ‘science’ knowing ‘madness’? The sciences of the mind will have to contend with the following moments:

Sciences of the Mind

mind of Reason

mind of non-Reason

normal mind (‘p’)

abnormal mind

mind of madness

the lacking mind (‘~p’)

We thus find the world of 'mental health science' breaking down into two Mind/lacking-mind Normal Mind/abnormal mind Sanity/madness Order/breakdown

… which is never really two; which in actuality is one; which in actuality is the logic of the One and the Same; which in actuality is the logic of hegemonic reason alone. This is because in this structure, non-Reason is reduced to madness; non-Reason is reduced to the negative, the dark, the derogatory, the lacking underside of Reason. This brings us to the critiques of the reduction of non-Reason to madness/breakdown in a number of sciences of the mind.

Science(s) of the Mind


Between the first and the most vocal of the critiques has been the anti-psychiatry12 movement of the 60s-70s. The notion of insanity13 as illness (or perhaps non-Reason as madness) has been criticized by antipsychiatrists like Thomas Szasz who through an exposition of mental illness as a myth, helped precipitate a crisis in the field of dominant biomedical, institutional psychiatry.14 His critique of ‘diagnosis’ and ‘therapy’ make polemical use of historical instances – for example the presumed similarity between labeling a person ‘witch’ in the renaissance and labeling a person ‘insane’ in the present century. For Szasz the only legitimate psychiatry is contractual and the use of psychiatric diagnosis to ‘explain’ the behavior of ‘deviants’ or non-conformists is not only a misuse of medical diagnosis (which can be done only for physical disease) but also results in more pernicious consequences for the offender himself than would have accrued from any sentencing in courts of law. Erving Goffman (Kendell & Zealley, 1994: 15-16) who etched the concept of the ‘total institution’ onto modern consciousness showed similarly how prisons, sanitaria, boarding schools, ships at sea, and most importantly psychiatric hospitals, could serve functions of socio-political control – indeed, importantly, of gender control – a control that could be seen as more potent and more sinister in view of their benign fronts of care and


If anti-psychiatry is primarily a tirade against Biomedical Psychiatry, does that mean anti-psychiatry has nothing against the softer versions of the mental health sciences, like psychotherapy and psychiatric counselling. And if anti-psychiatry is a tirade against the whole institution of ‘mental health science’ does that mean it seeks a more radical re-conceptualization of both mind and madness whereby the very notion of madness could come under severe and serious scrutiny – whereby one could call even for an abolition of the very category of ‘mental illness’ – whereby ‘mental illness’ becomes no more than a ‘myth’ – a myth perpetuated by the politico-medical establishment to disguise far more ‘bitter pills’. 13 Amita Dhanda (2000: 23) talks of three perceptions of insanity in popular discourse –deviance, dissent and disorder that “could significantly influence the politics of mental health as also the status of persons with mental disorder.” The anti-psychiatry movement sought to posit notions of insanity as deviance and dissent in order to build its critique against psychiatry’s representation and subsequent treatment of insanity as illness. 14 The other proponents of anti-psychiatry have been David Cooper, R.D.Laing and Aaron Esterson. The antipsychiatry movement had its birth in Europe and America and has had its popularity as an anti-authoritarian, even romantic, attack on Psychiatry's use of psychiatric diagnosis, its use of psychotherapeutic drugs and ECT for treatment and cure and its reliance on ‘involuntary hospitalization’ – hospitalization not by the ‘will of the patient’ – hospitalization not as a contractual arrangement between doctor and patient, or between the ‘service provider’ and the ‘client’, but as an operation considered necessary by Others, say, the doctor and the relatives/friends of the patient.

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protection. In the counter-culture of the 1960’s, existentialist themes were taken up by a number of mental health professionals to mount a critique on ‘organized psychiatry’. Notable among them was Dr. R. D. Laing who gave madness a ‘ringing endorsement’ and described schizophrenia as a meaningful response to family and social relations. In Laing’s view ‘mental illnesses’ were existential predicaments often characterized by insights and perceptual realms unavailable to those judged ‘sane’. Michel Foucault’s work (1988) gives us a critical historiography of psychiatry. Foucault, through his work on the ‘ship of fools’, ‘the great confinement’, the Salpetriere under Pinel, or the York Retreat under the Tukes,15 sees psychiatric practice as linked with a whole range of institutions – economic, social, and political. He tries to grasp with greater certainty through a “science as dubious as psychiatry” the interweaving of the effects of power and knowledge. Foucault reads in the history of psychiatry the history of how silence was imposed on non-Reason, how non-Reason was interned, made into an object of knowledge – of the gaze, the eye that governs. He also shows how the exclusion and the internment of non-Reason found a sort of structural niche prepared for it by the history of another exclusion – the exclusion of leprosy. Foucault (1988) moves from the “free trade” of the Middle Ages to the “determinations” of the “classical age” – a logos that permitted purportedly a dialogue between reason and unreason, that permitted their free exchange to a point (a point Foucault calls, the Decision) where the dialogue was broken off; where reason and unreason were divided into two soliloquies; where unreason was “dismissed, excluded, and ostracized from the circle of philosophical dignity”, “ordered away from the bench as soon as summoned to it by Descartes, this last tribunal of the Cogito”. In the context of such critiques one could ask, does Freud in particular and psychoanalysis in general institute a particular science of the mind and institute it through a 15

According to Foucault the much trumpeted moral therapy of Pinel or Tuke should be seen not, as customarily, the freeing of the insane from the obscene terrors of whips, chains, but rather as the imposition of more subtly terrifying ‘mind-forged manacles’ of guilt and self-control.

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‘speaking with what emerged as non-Reason’; is it instituted through an attention to the language of irrationality-phantasy-dreams? Or is there more to it? Does Freud institute a particular science of the mind through a different (structural) metaphor of mind? Does he do something unthought of in the sciences of the mind? Does he inaugurate in the sciences of the mind an attention to intersubjectivity (as against the ‘first-person’ and ‘third-person’ approaches to a science of the mind); does he inaugurate an understanding of intersubjectivity through ‘an attention to language’, language as not just representing reality, “but rather the subject” (Borch-Jacobson, 1992: 85); language as not just setting up a relation between the word (word-presentation) and the world (thing-presentation), but as setting up a relation between and among subjects. Does he inaugurate an attention to the “relation between the signifier and the subject”, to the “essentially linguistic structure” that underlies even “hallucinatory texts” (Lacan, 2006: 449). Does he inaugurate at about the same time an attention to undisclosed language, at language that has been dimmed over, that has been occluded, that remains buried, at covered up language? In a word, is Freud a philosopher ‘sensitive to silence(s)’, his own as well as those of the others? Is Freud a philosopher sensitive to ‘silence-silencing’ and the ‘silenced’? What would be Freud’s relation to ‘silence’? Silence as the generic term, a term that could possibly include two types of silence in its fold – the unspoken and the unspeakable (Moitra, 1984). While the unspeakable marks “the end point of language, the ultimate cut-off point where language does not reach”, the unspoken stands for silence, which is “found within language and not beyond language”. Silence as the unspoken is a constitutive factor of language, and necessarily so. The unspeakable represents the limits of language, the elusive outside of language, an outside that which is neither shown nor said. The unspoken of language is inside language yet outside language; the unspoken is the constitutive outside of language; that

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which cannot be said but which is shown16. Is Freud a philosopher attuned to the unspoken of language, to the ‘politically salient exclusions’ of language; is his science of the mind attuned to “effects such as foreclosure (Verwerfung), repression (Verdrangung) and negation (Verneinung)”. However, how does psychoanalysis speak with the unspoken? Is its manner of speaking different from other attempts at speaking? Hence, there are two issues: first, a speaking with the unspoken and second, not just speaking but also the manner of speaking with the unspoken. There is a third issue: at the same time, while Freud tries to speak with the hitherto unspoken of philosophy and science, does he humbly acknowledge the unspeakable limit of knowledge17 as also of any theorization, including his own?

Freud: Return to the Other of Reason

We discuss in this section the question of Freud’s engagement with the Other of hegemonic reason, with the Other of what emerged as Reason in Western Europe. We discuss in this section Freud’s return to the Other of hegemonic reason, to the Other of what emerged as Reason in Western Europe We would then ask how this return to the Other of Reason is at all inaugurated in the Freudian corpus. Is it inaugurated at all? Is it inaugurated to an extent through the invocation of the metaphor of the Mystic Writing Pad? Further, could we provisionally call this return to the Other of Reason as a certain return to non-Reason?


The Freudian ‘unconscious’ is somewhat akin to that which cannot be said but which is shown: “The unconscious … is not a deep, mysterious place, whose presence, in mystical fashion, accounts for all the unknown; it is knowable and it is normal. What it contains is normal thought, utterly transformed by its own laws (which Freud called the primary process), but nevertheless only transformed and hence still recognizable if one can deduce the manner of the transformation, that is, decipher the laws of the primary process to which the thought is subjected” (Mitchell, 2000: 6). In the unconscious, which is not so much deep as it is inaccessible to conscious scrutiny, it speaks (Lacan, 2006: 364). 17 Is the unspeakable limit of knowledge (and love) acknowledged in the Freudian corpus? Is psychoanalysis a ‘philosophy of the limit’? Is psychoanalysis a philosophy attentive to the limit, to the remainder? Is the invocation of the register of the ‘Real’ by Jacques Lacan in the name of a ‘return to Freud’ an acknowledgement of the limit, of the remainder? Is it an acknowledgment of finitude and not just of ‘lack’?

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But before we discuss Freud’s return to non-Reason let us put down what we mean by non-Reason: for us, non-Reason is not the absence of reason; non-Reason is not no-reason; non-Reason is not the lack of reason; for us non-Reason is what is not considered reason with respect to hegemonic understandings of reason; non-Reason for us is the space of ‘other reason(ing)s’, ‘intuitions’ and ‘affective (dis)positions’ as against hegemonic reason (where hegemonic reason is ‘Reason’ with a capital ‘R’). For us hegemonic reason is a constricted and circumscribed rendition of reason; a rendition produced through repressions, negations and foreclosures. Foucault (1988) in his work on the relation among Reason, non-Reason and madness moves from a logos that preceded the split between reason and non-reason, a logos that permitted purportedly a dialogue between reason and non-reason, that permitted their free exchange to a point (a point Foucault calls, the Decision) where the dialogue was broken off; where reason and non-reason were divided into two soliloquies; where silence was imposed on non-reason; where non-reason was reduced to unreason/madness and dismissed, excluded, and ostracized from the circle of philosophical dignity, ordered away from the bench as soon as summoned to it by Descartes, this last tribunal of the Cogito. Foucault speaks of the summary expulsion of the possibility of non-reason from thought itself in the first of the Meditations, which in other words, is a turning away of the Cogito from non-reason.18 Foucault shows how in

… the serene world of mental illness, modern man no longer communicates with the madman: on one hand, the man of reason delegates the physician to madness, thereby authorizing a relation only through the abstract universality of disease; on the other, 18

It would not be altogether out of context to note here that for Bordo (1987) Cartesian objectivism is not just a flight from non-reason. It is also a flight from the feminine. Cartesian objectivism is of a piece with a seventeenth century flight from the feminine, consequent upon a prevailing conviction that the primary epistemic task, both practical and theoretical, was to tame the chaos of “the female universe”. Only by adopting a masculine epistemic stance, best manifested in detached and self-controlled objectivity could one arrive at Reason-Knowledge.

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the man of madness communicates with society only by the intermediary of an equally abstract reason which is order, physical and moral constraint, the anonymous pressure of the group, the requirements of conformity. As for a common language there is no such thing; or rather, there is no such thing any longer; the constitution of madness as a mental illness, at the end of the eighteenth century, affords the evidence of a broken dialogue, posits the separation as already effected, and thrusts into oblivion all those stammered, imperfect words without fixed syntax in which the exchange between madness and reason was made. The language of psychiatry, which is a monologue of reason about madness, has been established only on the basis of such a silence.

Derrida (1978), while never subscribing to the Foucauldian notion of Decision, reads in the history of ‘mental health science’ the history of a return (Derrida, 1994). Derrida talks of a return of Freud – a return of Freud to non-Reason at the level of its language, at how and where “it speaks”. Freud would resume a dialogue with non-Reason and lift, as if, the Cartesian interdiction. Somewhat paradoxically, Foucault echoes an understanding of Freud in Madness and Civilization (1988) that could possibly be related to Derrida’s understanding of Freud; Foucault’s rendition of Freud in the quote below stands in contradiction to his general reading of Freud:

Freud went back to madness at the level of its language, reconstituted one of the essential elements of an experience reduced to silence by positivism; … he restored, in medical thought, the possibility of a dialogue with non-reason. (Foucault, 1988: 198)

Freud restored in ‘medical thought’ the possibility of a dialogue with non-Reason. Is medical thought, then, in general, the thought of a turning away from non-Reason? Is medical thought the thought of a putting outside of non-Reason? Is medical thought, the thought of remaining hard of hearing, of not listening? Freud purportedly reopens, in medical thought, for a moment a dialogue that was broken off once in the classical age and that would be

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broken off again by the language of a more positivist psychology. Psychology breaks off from non-Reason, from the language of non-Reason. Psychoanalysis breaks with psychology by speaking with non-reason, with what has been branded madness’. But that too, only for a moment, operating as only a hinge (Derrida, 1994) in this nearly unsuspended history of suspended dialogue. One moment in Freud’s conceptual space that marks a break with that of his predecessor philosophers as also predecessor psychiatrists is related to the question of his return to non-Reason as also to his setting up of a dialogue with non-Reason; setting up of a dialogue with non-reason at the level of language. At the level of ‘language’ is a crucial expression. In a letter to Wilhelm Fliess (December 6, 1896), Freud defines “the psychic apparatus in terms of a transcription of signs proceeding from percepts to unconscious and then to conscious or verbal inscriptions (S.E. 1: 233-234), a semiotic model again taken up in “The Unconscious” of 1915 and “A Note on the Mystic Writing Pad” of 1925 (Moorjani, 2000: 107). This model was pushed further by Lacan: “symptoms are symbolic … their use as signifiers distinguishes them from their natural meaning … the truth of the unconscious must be situated between the lines, since a broader metonymy encompasses their metaphors” (Lacan, 2006: 364). When philosophy had not just turned away from non-Reason but had in turn reduced to non-Reason to madness, when philosophy had in large measure handed over non-Reason to the normalizing functions of the psychiatric clinic, the 19th century psychiatric clinic being an apparatus of control and surveillance, Freud had re-turned to non-Reason. This return of a certain Freud or of a certain strain (even if marginal) of psychoanalysis to non-Reason at the level of language – this setting up of a dialogue with non-Reason – a certain standing face to

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face with non-Reason is fundamental to any ethical relation, to any relation based on responsibility19 in the mental health clinic. This standing face to face with non-Reason was made possible by the particularities of the psychoanalytic setting; the analytic setting embodies a different knowledge production. It is a setting where perhaps both the ‘analyst’ and the ‘analysand’ look in the same direction, together. In all other settings, whether the clinical, whether it is between the doctor and the patient, between the politician and the “masses”, the parent and the child or the social worker and the help-seeker, it entails a looking in opposite directions. The gestural system that is peculiar and particular to the psychoanalytic situation and that is foreign to any other situation, “disobey not only social convention but also the relation of signs to language [and communication]” (Irigaray, 1993: 93). Is this gestural system imagined to assist the distressed, assist him or her inhabit and structure a new house of language; paint, perhaps, a radically displaced language? “It is probably to this conception of the link between subject and language that Jacques Lacan owes the definition of the unconscious. The phrase “ The unconscious is structured like a language is very close to this passage by Martin Heidegger: “ Man acts as though he were the shaper and master of language, while in fact language remains master of man” ” (Irigaray, 1993: 93). Further, the pre-requisite for psychiatric dialogue is the presence of vision. The hegemony of vision works in ensuring a gaze that is quick and sure to diagnose and prescribe cure. The subject of psychiatric knowledge sees; the approach is oculocentric; the gaze penetrative. The subject of psychoanalytic knowledge hears; she listens; she attends to language, to the letter of the text.


“In her work ‘Righting Wrongs’ – delivered at Oxford University as part of an Amnesty International series of lectures ‘Human Rights and Human Wrongs’ – Spivak describes tow forms of culture – responsibility based (subaltern) and rights based (Northern) – arguing both need supplementation, one by the other …”. (Didur and Heffernan, 2003: 7)

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The speeds of sound and of light are not at all the same. It appears that psychoanalysis is challenging itself to subordinate the faster of the two to the slower. Light is made to serve sound: everything has to be said, everything has to be passed by sound articulation. … Since everything has to pass through sound, psychoanalytic practice becomes an exercise in patience. If accepted by the patient, the practice is calming, sedative, even soporific, because it is based on the sense of hearing. (Irigaray, 1993:153)

The question that haunts this work of writing: how could we then set up a dialogue with non-Reason as also with the unconscious? Do we need, on the one hand, a different structural metaphor of/for the mind, if at all, we need metaphors to represent the mind in all its complexities, considering all the while the question of the unconscious. In our search for a different structure of mind and simultaneously a different structure of knowledge, we come across Freud’s notes on the ‘mystic writing pad’. What is the ‘mystic writing pad’? Does the metaphor of the ‘mystic writing pad’ offer a different structure of mind? Why does Freud invoke the metaphor of ‘writing’ to represent the mind? Which science of the mind does he inaugurate?

Freud and the 'Mystic Writing Pad': Another ‘science of the mind’?

In a time when science penetrates further and further into social practice, science can fulfill its social function only when it acknowledes its own limits and the conditions placed on its freedom to maneuver. Philosophy must make this clear to an age credulous about science to the point of superstition. (Gadamer, 2004: 556)

Knowingness has taken the place of thought. Freud questions knowingness and returns to thought. He asks: what it is to be minded. Lear (1998: 84) mentions two features, each of which expresses a fundamental aspect of what we take mindedness to be, and which

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together imply that it is part of our concept of mind that minds be sometimes irrational. First, minds are restless. Second, minds are embodied. What do we mean when we say minds are restless? Lear (1998: 85) thinks that minds are not altogether algorithm-performing machines, and they do not merely follow out the logical consequences of an agent’s beliefs and desires. Rather, it is part of the very idea of mind that a mind must be able to make leaps, to make associations, to bring things together and divide them up in all sorts of strange ways. The mind thus has at least the potential for creativity; this in turn requires that there be certain forms of restlessness embedded in mental functioning. Freud’s discovery of primary-process mental functioning, his discovery of certain mental tropisms like projection and introjection, and his discovery that human sexuality is not merely a biological instinct but a drive with great plasticity in its aim and object – all this can be seen as the discovery of certain forms of restlessness in the human mind. Freud took himself to have made an empirical discovery, arrived at through his attempts to interpret dreams. He was relatively unaware of the logical flow of his argument. So as soon as one approaches a dream as something that requires interpretation – that is, as something, whose meaning is not immediately transparent but which nevertheless has a meaning – one needs to account both for the opacity and for the meaning. But how could mind be making a meaning it doesn’t understand? To be making a meaning, it must be making certain associations among ideas, engaging in symbolization; yet those associations must be opaque to conscious, rational-thinking mind. Once we recognize that mind is capable of making strange leaps and associations, we see that a mind has to have something like displacement and condensation as forms of mental activity. For displacement is the bare making of associations by linking ideas; condensation is the bare making of associations by superimposing them. These activities both discover and create similarities, and together they provide forms of restlessness needed for mind to express creativity and imagination.

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What does it mean to say that minds are embodied? Embodiment for Lear (1998: 85) is a formal requirement – it is part of the idea that a mind is part of a living organism over which mind has incomplete control and that it helps the organism to live in an environment over which the organism has incomplete control. Once we can see the mind as embodied and restless, there is much about it that becomes known. For once, we can see that philosophies engagement with irrationality (or non-Reason, as discussed in the previous section) has occurred, for the most part, at the wrong level.

Previous attempts to make room for irrationality within the concept of mind have failed in roughly the same way that the propositional calculus fails to illuminate the concept of mathematical proof. For previous attempts have it in common that they examine neither the inner structure of the contents of the propositional attitudes nor the various possible mental operations on that inner structure. Rather, they try to account for irrationality in terms of an irrational configuration of propositional attitudes, while leaving the internal structure of those attitudes unexamined. (Lear, 1998: 86)

Freud’s discovery of the elemental forms of mental restlessness suggests that if we are to understand the myriad phenomenon of motivated irrationality, we have to understand how the mind effects transformations on the inner contents of propositional attitudes. Psychoanalysis is of philosophical not because it provides a fascinating picture of human motivation, but because it intimates how one might construct, as it were, a predicate calculus of irrationality (Lear, 1998: 87). From a philosophical point of view, psychoanalysis is the first working-out of a truly non-Socratic approach to human irrationality. Rather than starting, as Socrates does, with an argument that mind must be rational, and then wondering how irrationality can be tacked on, psychoanalysis, begins with the idea that mind must be sometimes irrational. The possibility of restlessness and disruption is thus built into the very idea of mindedness.

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We are thus faced with a number of questions. With respect to the subject how do we account for failure of internal rationality? What happens when actions/dispositions do not accord with our commitments; when commitments do not cohere/accord with other commitments, when conscious beliefs and desires, when normative commitments to action, and forms of conscious reasoning are in deep conflict with (unconscious) dispositions? How do we think the relation among (a) Value-Ethics (b) Intentionality and (c) the special character of self-awareness (if not self-knowledge), of knowledge of our own states of mind, of the knowledge of propositionally specified states of mind (such as beliefs and desires) as also qualitative and phenomenal states of mind (such as pain and sensations)? How do we negotiate between (a) a ‘First Person Point of View’ (the purportedly subjective account) (b) the inter-subjective in terms of a relational two as against the intra-subjective (c) the ‘Third Person Point of View’ (the purportedly objective account)? Does Freud’s invocation of the Mystic Writing Pad as metaphor of mind offer a few openings?

The Mystic Writing Pad:

This section would like to discuss the Mystic Writing Pad. Freud as a possible metaphor of mind invoked the metaphor of the Mystic Writing Pad; in other words, he invoked the metaphor of writing to represent the mind; and offer it as a model of understanding the mind. But for Freud writing was not ordinary writing; it was not simple writing, not writing that was transparent or self-evident. For Freud writing was never simple; it was at least two layered; in fact it was simultaneously two layered; one layer was as if apparent, the other was, as if, beyond us; yet that which was beyond us was intimately tied to writing that was apparent. Freud thus cracks the commonsense understanding of writing and

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in the process the commonsense understanding of the mind. The mind was, as if, a two layered writing apparatus; where the two layers were writing simultaneously; one constituting the other in ways not altogether known to us. To understand the mind one needed to understand both layers and not just one layer; one also needed to understand the relation between the two layers. One is as if writing with both hands (something that is unthinkable in ordinary situations; we usually write with one hand) and both the form and the content of the two layers of writing was determining what writing was as also what was written. Of the two layers of writing, one is written on the surface and can be erased; the other layer is the sumtotal of the wax impression of what has hitherto been written on the surface layer. Let us begin our discussion of the Mystic Writing Pad as metaphor of mind through two opposing quotes; these quotes set the stage for the necessity of a turn to the ‘mystic writing pad’. The first quotation was chosen as an inscription for a psychoanalytic institute in 1952. It runs like this:

In particular, it should not be forgotten that the division into embryology, anatomy, physiology, psychology, sociology, and clinical work does not exist in nature and that there is only one discipline: a neurobiology …

The second quotation appears in Lacan’s “Discourse at Rome” delivered in September, 1953 at Rome. The “Discourse” can be considered the Magna Charta of the new movement in psychoanalysis. It is here that Lacan insists on the centrality of language in his conception of the Freudian enterprise. It is here that Lacan stresses the importance of speech and language in the psychoanalytic process; the direction of contemporary psychoanalysis, he claims, has turned more and more away from its focus, its focus on “the function and field of speech and language”

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Whether it wishes to be an agent of healing, training, or sounding the depths, psychoanalysis has but one medium: the patient’s speech. The obviousness of this fact is no excuse for ignoring it. (Lacan, 2006: 206) For Freud’s discovery was that of the field of effects, in man’s nature, of his relations to the symbolic order and the fact that their meaning goes all the way back to the most radical instances of symbolization in being. To ignore the symbolic order is to condemn Freud’s discovery to forgetting and analytic experience to ruin. (Lacan, 2006: 227)

In this context, one can think of Freud’s invocation of the metaphor of the mystic writing pad as a turn to speech and language, as a turn to the trope of ‘writing’ as representative of the mental apparatus. The Mystic (Writing) Pad is a slab of dark brown resin or wax with a work edging; over the slab is laid a thin transparent sheet; it itself consists of two layers which can be detached from each other except at their two ends. The upper layer is a transparent piece of celluloid; the lower layer is made of thin translucent waxed work. To make use of the Mystic (Writing) Pad one writes upon the celluloid portion of the covering sheet which rests upon the waxed slab. No pencil or chalk is necessary, since the writing does not depend on material being deposited upon the receptive surface20. A pointed stylus scratches the surface, the depressions constitute the “writing”. At the points which the stylus touches, it presses the lower surface of the waxed work on to the wax slab, and the grooves are visible as dark writing upon the otherwise smooth whitish gray surface of the celluloid. If one wishes to destroy what one has written, all that is necessary is to raise the double covering sheet from the wax slab; the close contact between the waxwork and the wax slab at the places, which have been scratched (upon which the visibility of the writing depended) is thus brought to an end. The Mystic Pad is now clear of writing and ready to receive fresh inscriptions.


Writing does not depend on material, ink or chalk, that is being actually deposited upon the receptive surface. Writing depends upon the impression the material makes upon the receptive surface.

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According to Freud human beings posses a system Pcpt.-Cs., which receives perceptions but retain no permanent trace of them so that it can react like a clean slate to every new perception; while the permanent traces of the excitations which have been received are preserved in ‘mnemic systems’ lying behind the perceptual systems.

This double system contained in a single differentiated apparatus: a perceptually available innocence [an apparent innocence] and an infinite resource of traces [traces that cannot be erased] is reconciled with the Mystic Writing Pad which promises to perform more than the sheet of work or the slate… which offers an ever ready receptive surface as also permanent traces of inscriptions that have been made on it; “traces” thus produce the space of their inscription only by acceding to the period of their erasure.

From the beginning, in the “present” of their first impression they are constituted by the double force of repetition and erasure, legibility and illegibility. A two handed machine, a multiplicity of agencies or origins – is this not the original relation to the other…an originary spacing, deferring, an erasure of the simple origin. (Derrida, 1978: 226)

The Mystic Writing Pad is, as if, a double-system, a two handed machine, a twolayered apparatus of writing and erasure, of fresh writing and retained writing such that no writing is fresh writing, of full erasure and impossible erasure such that no erasure is full erasure. It is, as if, a structure of the paradox of (apparent) innocence and (permanent) trace. Further, the upper layer of the two-layered apparatus, the transparent sheet is once again twolayered. The two layered-ness of the transparent sheet is important. In fact, the structure of the two-layered transparent sheet is somewhat like Irigaray’s metaphor of the two lips; two lips – separated in the middle and attached at the two ends, such that the two layered transparent sheet is neither two nor one. Further, it would not be out of context to note that the substance of the mystic writing pad is made of resin or wax. The substance or the substratum is such that it can receive

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inscriptions. Such received inscriptions cannot be lost altogether; and although such inscriptions would not qualify as writing in the ordinary sense of the term they would still constitute a language; constitute an altogether different language or a different structure of language. Traces of language remain, not on the surface, not on the writing surface, not on the given surface, but somewhere else, in another register, in an Other register, elsewhere, in another way: “it [ca] thinks” in another way, it writes in another way. “It thinks rather badly, but it thinks steadily. It is in these terms that Freud announces the unconscious to us: thoughts that, while their laws are not exactly the same as those of our everyday thoughts … are certainly articulated. … Freud called the locus of the unconscious ein anderer Schauplatz, another scene” that “is found to subsist in an alterity with respect to the subject” … “the unconscious is the Other’s discourse [discourse de l’Autre]” (Lacan, 2006: 458-9). There is thus a remainder of this Other discourse that is potentially a reminder. And yet the rem(a)inder does not preclude contingent erasure of the already written. The rem(a)inder does not preclude a freeing of the writing surface of past inscriptions, of Other inscriptions such that further writing is made possible upon the writing surface; such that further inscriptions are a possibility. And yet, whenever one is writing one is writing on the already written. Through the metaphor of the Mystic Writing Pad, Freud works on and around the brink of a radically different philosophy of mind: “If there were only perception, pure permeability to breaching, there would be no breaches. We would be written, but nothing would be recorded; no writing would be produced, retained, repeated as legibility. But pure perception does not exist: we are written only as we write, by the legacy within us which always already keeps watch over perception, be it internal or external. The “subject” of writing does not exist if we mean by that some sovereign solitude of the author. The subject of writing is a system of relations between strata. Within that scene, on that stage, the

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punctual simplicity of the classical subject is not to be found”. Freud problematizes the ‘punctual simplicity of the classical subject’; he problematizes the Cartesian subject of secure consciousness; he problematizes the received binarism between the ‘subject of knowledge’ and the ‘object of knowledge’; he also shows that the ‘subject’ is a ‘subject of writing’, subject of writing and erasure, subject of writing who while writing is being written (upon), such that the ‘Subject’ is always already under erasure. But then which Freud problematizes the received notion of the subject as also of knowledge? Conceptually, which aspect of Freud? This is important because Freud “remains forever trapped between his desire for a positive science [psychoanalysis as a rigorous science] and his desire to speculate” (Koffman, 1994: 110). Hence the Zizek-ian question:

How … does psychoanalysis stand with regard to the traditional couple Naturwissenschaften and Geisteswissenschaften, that is causal determinism and hermeneutics? Is psychoanalysis simply the most radical version of psychic determinism; is Freud a ‘biologist of the mind’, does he denounce mind itself as the plaything of unconscious determinism and, consequently its freedom as an illusion? Or on the contrary, is psychoanalysis an ‘in-depth hermeneutics’, which opens up a new domain for analysis of meaning by demonstrating how, even in that case (of what appears as) purely physiological, corporeal disturbances we are still dealing with a dialectic of meaning, with the subject’s distorted communication with himself[/herself] and his[/her] Other? … this duality is reflected in the very Freudian theoretical edifice, in the guise of the duality of the metapsychological theory of drives (oral, anal, phallic stages, and so on), which relies on the physicalist-biologist metaphorics of ‘mechanisms’, ‘energy’ and ‘stages’, and interpretations (of dreams, jokes, the psychopathology of everyday life, symptoms …) which remain thoroughly within the domain of meaning. (Zizek, 1996: 84)

To continue with the Zizekian question: which Freud? Freud of (mono)-causal biological determinism? Freud of an in-depth hermeneutics? Which Freud offers us a conceptual break? Which Freud offers us a break – break with hegemonic forms of

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‘philosophy of the mind’; break with hegemonic forms of ‘science of the mind’? This question “which Freud” is important because in Freud’s work there has always been an “interplay and tension between the hermeneutic foreground of his work, in which his concern is with the interpretation of human behaviour and a meta-psychological background in which the fundamental processes of the psyche are described in terms of an economics and dynamics of the libido” (Rajan, 1991: 89). Thus in Freud’s work there has always been a tension between hermeneutics and meta-psychology, between analytic experience and observational experience, between the communicational nature of the therapeutic situation and the more positivistic understanding of psychoanalytic theory. Rajan (1991: 92) shows how the more positivistic understanding of psychoanalytic theory is characterized by three basic claims: 1.

the therapeutic situation is analogous to an experimental situation in which controlled observations can take place. (Lacan distinguishes such observational






experience is the hegemonic method of science. Science tries to assess analytic experience in terms of observational experience. Science tries to find out whether psychoanalysis is scientific or not in terms of the observational method.) 2.

the interpretations of the analyst are analogous to ‘middle range hypotheses’


these ‘middle range hypotheses’ are in some complex manner derivable from the theoretical principles of psychoanalysis formulated in metapsychology

Science(s) of the Mind


This understanding and rendition of psychoanalysis marginalizes somewhat the linguistic, communicative, or dialogic nature of the therapeutic situation. Whereas if one emphasizes on the communicational nature of the therapeutic situation psychoanalytic therapy emerges as essentially a verbal or talking cure and therapeutic communication becomes “a form of re-living of earlier communicational situations. This feature of therapy as ‘transference neurosis’ … is vital to the effectiveness of therapy because it is this that allows the patient to re-experience the original meanings” (Rajan, 1991: 93), meanings which had been repressed-negated-foreclosed; this is important because “therapy is a communication in and through which a lost or repressed communication is re-possessed” (Rajan, 1991: 93). It is our contention that Freud of the ‘Mystic Writing Pad’ could possibly open up space for a working through both ‘biology’ and ‘hermeneutics’, through both ‘explanation’ and ‘understanding’, through both ‘causality’ and ‘sense’. Freud of the ‘Mystic Writing Pad’ could possibly open up space for an engagement with the given particular and the produced particular, as also with the contingent. Each clinical setting is an encounter with a mystic writing pad; the next is an encounter with another mystic writing pad. It is also an encounter with the two-ness of the (mental) apparatus, with the two-ness of discourse; it is an encounter with the unconscious as the Other discourse. Freud of the ‘Mystic Writing Pad’ could possibly open up space for a thinking beyond the descriptive (i.e. the phenomenological) conception of the unconscious, for a thinking beyond the linear continuum model of the unconscious, for a thinking beyond “horizon analysis” (Rajan, 1991: 105). Freud of the ‘Mystic Writing Pad’ opens up space for thinking through the dynamic conception of the unconscious, for thinking through repression-resistance-transference, for thinking through a hermeneutic of suspicion (Rajan, 1991: 30). Freud of the ‘Mystic Writing Pad’ perhaps offers us an escape from meta-psychology, from the positivistic understanding of psychoanalysis, from the understanding of psychoanalysis as an observational experience.

Science(s) of the Mind


Psychoanalysis and What It Teaches Us … (Lacan, 2006: 437)

Psychoanalysis teaches us to move from classical philosophy to a “psychoanalytically inspired” philosophy (Lacan, 1990: 7), to move from the Cartesian philosophical paradigm of the ‘Cogito’ to the Spinozoist critique of free will and self-determination, to move from the ‘philosophy of the Cogito’ to a philosophy that puts the Cogito under erasure: Cogito. In a word, it teaches us to move from a ‘philosophy of presence’ to a ‘philosophy-of-presenceput-under-erasure’. It teaches us to work through a semantic model of intentionality to a semantic model of Desire. It teaches us to take note of the semantics of the unconscious. It teaches us to move from observational experience to analytic experience. One could ask: why do we need to move from classical philosophy, from classical epistemology as an encounter with knowledge to psychoanalysis (analysis as an encounter with non-Reason, with the unconscious …)? Is it because “psychoanalysis renders visible the constitutive madness of modern philosophy”? Is it because psychoanalysis brings to the foreground what was foreclosed in the Cartesian theatre?

… the whole of modern philosophy, from Descartes onward, involves an inherent reference to the threat of madness, and is thus a desperate attempt to draw a clear line that separates the transcendental philosopher from the madman (Descartes: how do I know I’m not hallucinating reality?; Kant: how to delimit metaphysical speculation from … hallucinatory rambling?). (Zizek, 1998: 2)

The question that we wish to ask in this paper is whether psychoanalysis, unlike classical philosophy, can set up a meaningful engagement with non-Reason and not be threatened by non-Reason, as to reduce non-Reason to mere madness. Or more precisely, can the analytic setting offer a possible conceptual space to explore questions of an engagement

Science(s) of the Mind


with non-Reason, such that there is no turning away from non-Reason? It is in answer to this question that we try to bring in the somewhat representative example of clinical psychoanalysis. This is of course not to say that we propose to turn every mentally distressed person to clinical psychoanalysis. We wish the clinical psychoanalytic setting to be a methodological and ethical bind on all clinical settings in the mental health situation. The setting of psychoanalysis is therefore used and reiterated to bring up and highlight the idea/ideal of a clinical engagement we wish to imagine – how while not giving up on an engagement with the irreducible phenomenology of mental dis-ease/distress one could still think a clinical engagement – a listening to and a ‘speaking with’ (Moitra, 2002) – how one could still think of a possible relationship with non-Reason that could be ethical not just at the level of institutional practice but even at the level of knowledge/truth production. We have already discussed Descartes’ turning away from non-Reason and Freud’s subsequent return to non-Reason. In this section, we discuss Lacan’s return to Freud. For Lacan the meaning of a “return to Freud” is a return to the meaning of Freud, to the “very different tablature” that Freud is. It is also a return of psychoanalysis to the “doctrine of the signifier”, to the “importance of the signifier in the localization of analytic truth”, to ways in which “the signifier affects the advent of the signified, which is the only way of conceiving how it is that interpretation, by inscribing itself therein, can produce anything new” (Lacan, 2006: 496). It is a return to interpretation; it is at the same time a turning away from “every other form of verbal intervention that does not constitute interpretation: explanations, gratifications, responses to demands, and so on” (Lacan, 2006: 495). This distinguishing of interpretation from other forms of verbal intervention is important because “no index suffices to show where interpretation operates, unless one accepts in all its radical implications a concept of

Science(s) of the Mind


the function of the signifier, which grasps where it is that the subjects subordinates himself to the signifier to so great an extent that he is suborned by it” (Lacan, 2006: 495). It is also a return to the unconscious for “interpretation is not grounded in some assumption of divine archetypes” but in the “fact that the unconscious has the radical structure of language and that a material operates in the unconscious according to certain laws, which are the same laws as those discovered in the study of natural languages [langues] – that is, languages [langues] that are or were actually spoken” (Lacan, 2006: 496). It is all the more a return of psychoanalysis to the question of that which splits Cartesian consciousness: the “doctrine of Descartes, that the mind consists solely of that which directly asserts itself in unitary consciousness” was problematized by Freud. “Swarming facts positively leave no doubt that vivid consciousness, subject to attention and control, embraces at any one moment a mere scrap of our psychical entity. … The obscure part of the mind is the principal part” (Moorjani, 2000: 105). Having set up the unconscious as that which limits Cartesian consciousness Freud “set out to describe the dynamics of the unconscious”, describe “without feeling bound by any concern for cortical localization” (Lacan, 2006: 452). We have seen how for both Freud and Lacan the unconscious is the “censored chapter”. Yet for both Freud and Lacan “the truth can be refound; most of it has already been written elsewhere. Namely 1.

in monuments: this is the body … the hysterical symptom manifests the structure of language, and is deciphered like an inscription …


in archival documents too: these are my childhood memories …


in semantic evolution: this corresponds to the stock of words and acceptations of my own particular vocabulary, as it does to my style of life and my character;

Science(s) of the Mind 4.

58 in traditions, too, and even in the legends which, in a heroicized form, convey my history;


and, lastly, in its traces that are inevitably preserved in the distortions necessitated by the insertion of the adulterated chapter into the chapters surrounding it, and whose meaning will be reestablished by my exegesis.

What then is psychoanalysis? Is it a process of finding a truth about a mind? But who would find the truth? Lacan problematizes the notion of both the secure Subject of Knowledge and the passive object/recipient of knowledge. He adds: psychoanalysis has nearly nothing to do about “an emotional re-education of the analysand”. Psychoanalysis has nothing to do with confession. It nearly has nothing to do with the rehabilitation of the analysand’s disheveled ego in a secure and normative environ (Lacan, 2006: 498). That is the job of either the Priest or the American Ego-Psychologist. The analyst

… must have no abstract and predetermined interpretative paradigm as this may cut into the patient’s subjectivity. … This also means that the analyst must not focus on something too much, unless he or she is sure of doing so in order to create some temporal space. (Irigaray, 1993: 155)

Is psychoanalysis, then, practical knowledge? Is it phronesis, phronesis as another kind of knowledge that is directed towards the concrete situation, that tries to grasp the circumstances in their infinite variety (Gadamer, 2005 [1975]: 19)? Psychoanalysis cannot be characterized as a contract either, and the widespread use of the term ‘client’ to qualify ‘patients’ seems misguided in a psychoanalytic setting. To be a client suggests that one is a consumer and that one knows exactly what one is asking for and what one will receive – something, which is certainly not true of any kind of psychoanalytic therapy. The notion of

Science(s) of the Mind


contract suggests that the parties enter into an agreement at least as apparent equals. But in psychoanalytic therapy the analyst ‘sidesteps’ the patient’s demands – ‘frustrates’ them and ultimately tries to ‘direct’ the patient to something he or she never asked for. The patient gets what she never asked for. That is somewhat paradoxical. Isn’t it? Didn’t the patient ask for cure? Did she get cure?

The cure is a demand that originates in the voice of the sufferer, of someone who suffers from his body or his thought. The astonishing thing is that there be a response, and that throughout time medicine, using words, has hit the bull’s eye. (Lacan, 1990: 7)

“Psychical treatment” denotes … treatment taking its start in the mind [Seele, “soul”], treatment (whether of mental or physical disorders) by measures which operate in the first instance and immediately upon the human mind. Foremost among such measures is the use of words; and words are the essential tool of mental treatment. A layman [as also a Man of Medicine] will no doubt find it hard to understand how pathological disorders of the body and mind can be eliminated by “mere” words. And he will not be so very wrong, for the words which we use in our everyday speech are nothing other than watered-down-magic. (Freud writes in 1890 defining hat he then called “psychical treatment” [Seelenbehandung]; quoted by Borch-Jacobsen, 1992: 75)

Use of words … working on the “enigmatic operation of the signifier” (truquage) – that’s what cure is all about perhaps. While ‘client’ may be preferable in certain respects to ‘patient’, which tends to pathologize or stigmatize the person in therapy, Lacan proposes a different term: analysand. The –and ending of analysand is a gerund form (like –ing at the end of a word in English), which implies that it is the person (of the analysand) in therapy who does the work of analyzing, not the analyst. The object of knowledge is also the subject of knowledge; the subject of knowledge is also the object of knowledge; such that the

Science(s) of the Mind


Subject-object divide, the Reason/non-Reason divide is rendered problematic. Reason is made of the same clay it moulds.

Psychoanalysis thus becomes the first therapy that sets freedom rather than some specific image of human happiness as its goal. Other kinds of therapy posit particular outcomes – increased self-esteem, overcoming depression – and, implicitly or explicitly, give advice about how to get there. Psychoanalysis is the one form of therapy which leaves it to analysands to determine for themselves what their specific goals will be. Indeed, it leaves it to them to determine whether they will have specific goals. (Lear, 1998: 22)

The crucial moment in the analytic setting thus resides in the analysand’s unconscious, not in the analyst as some master of knowledge. The first principle of this process, the one that is spelt out to him before all else, and which he meets throughout his training, to the extent that he becomes utterly imbued with it, is that he must not direct the patient. The direction of conscience, in the sense of the moral guidance that a [Brahmin] might find in it, is radically excluded here. “The analyst’s discourse … must be opposed to any will, to master”; just as the analyst must abdicate the role into which he or she is often cast by contemporary psychology and psychiatry – as the master of reality, as the judge of what is real and what is not real – so too must the analyst abdicate the master’s discourse in all its forms. For it makes the analyst hard of hearing. The analyst’s desire is a desire that emphasizes through non-verbal interventions, punctuation and scansion in the session and/or verbal intervention every manifestation of the unconscious. And since the “unconscious is structured like language”21 analysis looks for the ‘purloined letters’ of the analysand – purloined letters that determines the lives of the 21

“… the Freudian unconscious is situated at that point, where between cause and that which it affects, there is always something wrong ”, “there remains essentially in the function of cause a certain gap ”, “what the unconscious does is to show us the gap ”. “In this gap something happens ...” (Lacan, 1977: 22) But for Lacan, since there is nothing essentially human that pre-exists or exists outside language, outside Law, outside the Name of the Father this gap can only be accessed through language, through the “letter of the text”.

Science(s) of the Mind


analysand – snatches of the analysand’s conversation that surface from their being set aside. Analysands bring up their purloined letters in and to the analytic setting and analysis attempts to render them, make them somewhat legible to the analysand, which is other words, is all about uncovering hitherto disavowed determinants of desire. Psychoanalysis aims not at the intended meaning, not at what analysand’s mean to say but at what he or she actually said – at the letters per se of what analysands say – letters per se and the strange but relevant associations they make with other letters or other somewhat less obvious or obscurely intended meanings. Lacan insists on the apparently nonsensical concatenation of letters – on verbal bridges. Hence “stick to the letter of the text”. “The analyst should rather proceed by attending closely to the logic of the signifier, to those detours and swerves in the discourse of the patient which mark the irruption of unconscious desire (Norris, 1987: 115). In the process the analyst also pays, “pay with words no doubt, if the transmutation they undergo due to the analytic operation raises them to the level of their effect as interpretation” (Lacan, 2006: 490). Psychoanalysis is about an attention to the apparently nonsensical concatenation of letters – through an attention to the letter of the text – through an attention to language – through an attention to the ‘Mystic Writing Pad’. Does analysis end here? Do we thereby find health, cure, care, healing? Do we find the truth? There is perhaps no end to analysis (if Freud considered the psychoanalytic cure to be interminable, it is because he thinks and interprets in terms of analytic experience and not in terms of observation, discovery or creation); there is perhaps no end to our engagement with the rem(a)inder. One needs to ‘keep going’.

Science(s) of the Mind


Whither the science(s) of the mind?

To summarise, the science(s) of the mind have followed the following trajectories:




Behavior-Objective-Third Person

Phenomenology Gestalt Existentialism

Subjective-First Person

Cognitive Psychology-AI




Which way would it go now? Whither the science(s) of the mind? How would it negotiate between

1. Transcendental Idealism and Mechanical Materialism 2. Introspective Meditation and Laboratory Life 3. Spiritualist Dualism and Materialist Monism 4. Observation and Understanding 5. Third Person and Second Person Accounts 6. In Vivo and In Vitro attitudes

How would it relate to the search for a Fundamental Ontology – which in turn could take two forms – (a) Ontology of Substance or (b) Ontology of Soul? How would it negotiate with the problem ‘material-immaterial’? Would it move towards a semantic dualism – that is a dualism of perspectives (and not a ‘dualism of substance’)? Would it move towards a twoness of perspectives – the perspective of, on the one hand, the body and brain (neurons) and the perspective, on the other, of the mental (knowledge, action, feeling, acts or states

Science(s) of the Mind


characterized by intentions, motivations, and values)? Would it in the process resist the semantic amalgamation in the formula “The Brain Thinks”? Further, how would it relate the material, the psychic and the discursive in a science of the mind?

Intrapsychic Material


These and a host of other questions this paper could not address in its limited scope and capacity would continue to haunt the science(s) of the mind in the coming years; a final resolution seems elusive at present; perhaps we have to contend with the irritation, the ‘postfixed (s)’ of the ‘science(s)’ produce, for some time to come.

Science(s) of the Mind



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