Reason and the Freudian Unconscious


According to Aristotle and Aquinas, human beings are essentially rational animals.  According to psychoanalysis, much of our mental lives are taken up with unconscious mental activity. The usual way of understanding unconscious mental activity has it that the unconscious is either a sea of irrationality or an aspect of mental life so distant from the operations of reason as to be a-rational—a view that tends to treat manifestations of unconscious activity as significantly pathological. This talk will explore a strong sense in which reason and the unconscious are not contraries, even though unconscious mental activity does not bear the hallmarks of self-conscious thought or feeling.