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Unconscious Knowledge of One's Own Mind: A Neglected Element in Freud's Theory of the Unconscious

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Freud's principal contribution to clarifying persons' relations to themselves lies in his exploration of the dynamic relations between conscious and unconscious processes. This paper addresses another aspect of Freud's ideas, one to which he himself and his followers accorded insufficient attention, namely, unconscious knowledge, in particular, unconscious knowledge of one's own mind and hence of one's own unconscious. First I show that Freud's idea of unconscious knowledge of one's own mind is epistemologically coherent and that it can be understood in different ways within the framework of his basic concepts. I then discuss select examples of such knowledge from his clinical and theoretical writings. In conclusion, I pose the question of the scope of these ideas for depth psychology.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 01 January 2007

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