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In this paper I sketch a reconstruction of the basic psychoanalytic conception of the mind in terms of two historical resources: the conception of the subject developed in post‐Kantian idealism, and Spinoza's laws of the affects in Part Three of the Ethics. The former, I suggest, supplies the conceptual basis for the psychoanalytic notion of the unconscious, while the latter defines the type of psychological causality of psychoanalytic explanations. The imperfect fit between these two elements, I claim, is reflected in familiar conceptual difficulties surrounding psychoanalytic theory and explanation.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Philosophy, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E, 6BT, UK,

Publication date: 01 June 2012

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