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June 28, 2011

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subconscious vs unconscious

  • June 28, 2011, 5:26am

Just for interest, it seems that even Freud was ambivalent. So what's new!

Here's an update from my 2003 Oxford Dictionary of Psychology:-

SUBCONSCIOUS - Operating or existing outside of consciousness. In psychoanalysis, a term used by Freud in a very few early publications to denote the unconscious but quickly abandoned because of its ambiguity.

UNCONSCIOUS - Lacking consciousness or awareness of mental experiences such as perceptions thoughts or emotions; lacking deliberate intention (an unconscious slip).
In psychoanalysis, a part of the mind containing repressed instincts and their representative wishes, ideas and images that are not accessible to direct examination....repression prevents the contents of the unconscious from entering either the conscious or pre-conscious....After 1920 Freud abandoned this topography of the mind in favour of a structural model based on the concepts of id, ego, and super-ego.
Two brief comments:
1. Freudian notions of a barrier between unconscious and conscious sub-systems clearly run into some difficulty where dream content is admitted into consciousness, apparently busting the 'barrier' hypothesis. The science does not really meet today's standards.
2. For a lively read see Eysenk re the collapse and fall of the Freudian empire.

Best wishes (conscious and unconscious) to all reading this.