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Neurobiology, the unconscious, affect and desire: Damasio and Freud - Essay Example

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In his book “Descartes’ Error” Antonio Damasio deals with the popular misconception about human mind, especially those that are ensued by ‘Cartesian dualism’. Damasio’s argument primarily revolves around his proposition that the human being is the integration of body…
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Neurobiology, the unconscious, affect and desire: Damasio and Freud
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Neurobiology, the unconscious, affect and desire: Damasio and Freud

They are the result of a most curious physiological arrangement that has turned the brain into the body’s captive audience” (Damasio 34). Whereas the traditional Cartesian view of body and asserts, individually existential mind dominates the bodily existence of human being, Damasio affirms that the existence of mind itself begins from the physical feeling, as he says, “Feelings let us catch a glimpse of the organism in full biological swing, a reflection of the mechanism of life itself as they go about their business” (Damasio 34). Damasio’s view of mind further implicates that human mind is more of a social construction of moral, ethic and values that he proves through the case study of legendary Gage’s injury. In this regard Damasio comments that
“Were it not for the possibility of sensing body states that are inherently ordained to be painful or pleasurable, there would be no suffering or bliss, no longing or mercy, no tragedy or glory in the human condition” (Damasio 35).
Damasio’s approach to human body and mind contrast with Freud’s approach in the sense that the place of the physical existence is of less importance in Freud’s approach than in Damasio’s one. Freudian view of mind is an individual entity that develops through bodily experience and feelings. The space-time matrix of the Freudian dream clearly asserts that mind is the reflection of human existence in which body is the limitation spatial restriction of human mind and mind can transcend this limitation through his imagination. In their book, “Studies on Hysteria” Freud and Breuer acknowledge the physicality of human being as a contribution to the development of mind. But this approach of Freud and Breuer, though resembles to that of Damasio’s, differs from his approach on the point that though mind is shaped by bodily feeling, Freud and Breuer’s concept of mind does not include the physical function of human brain to the development of mind. According to ... Read More
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