IPA Inter-Regional Encyclopedic Dictionary of Psychoanalysis

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interactivity. Contemporary accounts of French Intersubjective thinking (Tessier 2014 a,b) stress the ‘unconscious subject’ and its formation in relation to ‘the real other’, subject and object. This entry includes the exposition of intersubjectvity as a dominant psychoanalytic orientation as well as an increasingly prominent aspect of psychoanalytic thought and work, present in various ways across the spectrum of many psychoanalytic orientations worldwide.


II. A. Roots in Philosophy The ideas of intersubjectivity were emerging gradually across the range of disciplines and writers: First in philosophy , as a reaction against Descartes’ subjectivity of a self- contained mind four centuries ago. Two centuries later Hegel’s Phenomenology of mind based self-consciousness emerging within rudimentary intersubjectivity. In the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl, a contemporary of Freud’s, intersubjectivity became a specific focus of philosophical inquiry. Ever since Rene Descartes’ (1596-1660) mind-body dualism, western philosophy has been preoccupied with the issue of subjectivity. Cartesian subjectivity is that if an isolated mind, able to be certain only of itself, its own thinking and self-awareness. Descartes invented the concept of subject as a self-contained monad, where everything else is doubtful. It took 200 years, until Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) viably challenged the notion. For Hegel, subjectivity or self-consciousness required encounter with another. In his master-slave dialectic, self-consciousness arises out of struggle between two individuals who realize they depend on each other: without mutual recognition neither can achieve adequate self- consciousness. There is a shift from the Cartesian solipsistic one-person model to Hegelian dyadic two-person model of mind. Edmund Husserl (1859-1938), the founder of ‘transcendental phenomenology’ pursued the question of intersubjectivity: how one gains awareness of other subjectivities. The intersubjective reciprocity, replacing the subject-object relationship with a subject-subject relationship coming from the philosophical background of German Idealism of both Hegel and Husserl is based on the assumption that there is no isolated subject without a world. For Husserl, the individual consciousness in always related to an other: the individual ego is drawn into a dialogical individuation process and can only recognize itself through the other. Precursors of intersubjectivism in German-language psychoanalysis can be recognized in the concept of encounter: besides transference, during treatment an existential encounter develops, for which the patient is not taken as an object of knowledge but becomes a partner of a dialogue that transcends the transference-countertransference dynamics. (Bohleber 2013, pp. 807-809).


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