Thursday, November 7, 2013

Jon Sletvold - The Neuroscience of Freud's Body Ego

Abstract: Freud’s statement in The Ego and the Id (1923) that the ego is first and foremost a bodily ego is well known. This paper tempts to clarify the premises underlying Freud’s thesis. Particular attention is paid to Freud’s investigation of internal perceptions. Freud argued that internal perceptions are more primordial than perceptions arising externally. In Freud’s opinion the roots of the ego, the id, are to be found in body sensations and feelings, but he had to admit that very little was known about these sensations and feelings. Only much later was neuroscience in a position to offer evidence that feelings can be the direct perception of the internal state of the body. Antonio Damasio (2010) has recently suggested that the core of the self might be found in what he, like Freud, terms primordial feelings. Not only was Freud able to conceive of the ego as the perception and feeling of our own body but also to conceive of knowing the mental life of another by means of recreating the bodily state of another through imitation.

Jon Sletvold (2013) The ego and the id revisited: Freud and Damasio on the body ego/self. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, Vol. 94, pp. 1019-1032 



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