Talk Lacewing - Cisa Seminars

How are unconscious emotions possible?

Michael Lacewing


Heythrop College, University of London


An unconscious emotion is an emotion that the subject cannot avow directly and non-inferentially. But how should we understand the possibility of such states? I shall compare some prominent theories of unconscious emotion from philosophy, psychology and psychoanalysis, to test the viability of their accounts. I shall argue that a distinctly psychodynamic conception of unconscious emotion is both necessary and cogent, but leave open the precise form that such a theory should take. The paper as a whole seeks to provide an example of the fruitfulness of interdisciplinary work in the philosophy of emotion, and urges the inclusion of psychoanalytic conceptions of the mind in that dialogue.