Thursday, 19 March 2015

mood, mainly bad

Heidegger tells us that all our comprehending encounters with this or that are framed by mood. Perhaps on some or other understanding of 'mood' that will pass. But isn't there another, everyday, understanding of mood which has it playing a less hegemomic role in the disclosure of our worlds?

Or perhaps we can approach the matter differently. When we say 'Oh, you are in a mood' we are unlikely to mean 'in a good mood'. And when we are talking of good moods, we are unlikely to be speaking of a general state of contentment. Someone who is properly to be said to be in a good mood ('You're in a good mood!') is most often - are they not? - someone who is prone to be in a bad mood but yet is currently of lively disposition. We might say of someone that they always seem to be happy, but it doesn't, I believe, quite do justice to the nuances of 'mood' to say that they always seem to be in a good mood.

So rather than mood being ubiquitous and essential to world disclosure, it is, I think, more usefully understood as existentially unobligatory. A mood, it seems to me, can be understood as follows. Take an emotional or physical state (pain, sadness, anger). Have the subject become 'fused' with this state such that they are no longer aware of it as a passing reaction or adaptation. In this state of fusion the mood becomes the disclosing horizon of their being. (Everyday talk registers this immersion of self in mood in its acknowledgement that we are in moods and states of mind. This is far from the mentalist's suggestion that, 'actually' - whatever that means - moods and states of mind are in us.)

Depressed mood involves a lostness in, if you like an identification with, a feeling. In depression one is now aware of feeling dreadful, but one takes it as one's inevitable true realisation of one's inevitable true predicament. Tiredness, jiltedness, shame, a physical pain, etc.: what might otherwise be these feelings become sublimed from the state of a concrete particular to form the atmosphere which bathes all that can be seen within the horizon. The feelings are quite lost to us, in our moods, in their particularity. In such a state we are closed to the balm of the other and to the particular possibilities of our suffering. 

Hopelessness is, famously, a profoundly important aspect of depression. Hopelessness is not the loss of hope that things can be better; that, in Heideggerese, would be far too 'ontical' a reading of it. Hopelessness, I want to suggest, is the loss of the momentum, the repose and the disruptions of our ordinary travail and leisure - the loss of the state of experiencing feelings both physical and emotional for what they are - not as our lot but as moments, within one's life, of adaptive corporeal reckoning with our boons and losses. (The moments may be enduring. This is not a point about duration; it is a point about non-identification of person and predicament.) Instead we sink into the low mood - of loneliness, perhaps - and now it becomes that inevitable constraining horizon.

A depressive view of hopelessness is that we need to combat it through hope - the hope that 'things can get better'. But really this idea - that individual work must be done to combat depression - risks feeding the monster. We don't, I want to suggest, really have to battle against it. Instead we have to come to notice the tacit identification which is driving it. The point isn't to substitute one self-generated misery for another self-generated optimism; the point is to transcend self-generated moods and to return to what could be called living. We needn't, we can't, think our way out of depression, since the meanings that become available for thinking are so often furnished and constrained by mood itself. Instead we might try: a change of posture, opening your eyes wider, watching a movie that shifts your active identifications, talking with others about their lives, noticing if one is ill and taking care of oneself, dancing, the releasing rhythms of a long walk:  anything that grace-fully lets the light in through mood's fissures. And, alongside that, try: a therapeutic encounter in which, with the balm of ordinary accepting attentive alongside-ness, it becomes possible to bear, feel, suffer, allow, in unsublimed particularised form, the feelings in which we otherwise risk lost, mood-producing, immersion. For mood's most powerful cloudburster is just this: the loving face of the other.

Sunday, 8 March 2015


At Phil Hutchinson’s workshop at MMU on Wednesday Tim Thornton questioned whether I really need to go all ‘darkly Heideggerian’ in order to do justice to the intuition that the core understanding psychoanalysis offers us of its object – the dynamic unconscious – is not best understood as scientific in character. Why couldn’t we achieve all we wanted to with Wittgensteinian talk of a ‘rule of representation’ or a ‘framework proposition’?

Michael Lacewing was troubled by my suggestion that no inference was involved in the grasping of the temporally extended gestalts of unconscious affects and motivations. My claim was that the best understanding of what it is to appreciate the presence and character of, say, projection is in terms of ‘just getting it’, seeing it in the living shape of someone’s behaviour and expression. We are not, I claimed, typically involved in ‘inference to the best explanation’. Michael, however, was concerned that this leaves us unable to justify or persuade someone who doubted the presence of, say, projection either in a particular instance or in general.

In what follows I want to address both of these concerns.

Here was my basic claim: We can’t understand psychoanalytic theory in its elements (‘there is a dynamic unconscious’; ‘people project’, ‘repression results in deadening of the self’, ‘psychic suffering follows from splitting’ etc.) as scientific, I claimed, because the articulations of the elements are too primordial for science. That is, we can’t understand their meaning independently of an understanding that they obtain. Our coming to understanding the meaning of these terms is of a piece with our deepened understanding of human nature. We do not first grasp their essence, then infer on the basis of empirical evidence that they do or do not exist or obtain. Similarly for what goes for understanding itself here. Elemental psychoanalytic understanding is not, I claimed, a general psychological type of understanding that just happens to be directed at a particular object. Rather the object (the unconscious) is to be grasped with a mode of understanding (psychoanalytic understanding) apt for it. A natural Wittgensteinian tack – taken by Charles Elder in his ‘The Grammar of the Unconscious’ – is to claim that the non-representational form of knowing I am after here is to be explicated in terms of ‘grammar’, ‘rules of representation’, ‘conceptual truth’, ‘framework propositions’. The idea is that these are truths about what it makes sense to say, rather than truths about objects. We are involved in grasping meaning, and not in seeing that something obtains.

Now, whether or not this is going to be acceptable will, I think, turn a lot on what we mean by a rule of representation. For what I don’t think is that these core psychoanalytical terms are to be grasped through non-ostensive definitions. Nor do I think that they are to be grasped in terms of ostensive samples. In short they are not to be explicated in terms of sufficient conditions. And there is an important reason for this. This reason has to do with the sui generisity of the concepts. The concepts are irreducible precisely because they have to do with a distinctive form of knowledge directed at a distinctive form of object. Our intellectual understanding of such concepts will therefore often best proceed negatively – in line with Wittgenstein’s(/ Shakespeare's King Lear's Earl of Kent's) ‘I’ll show(/teach) you differences’. The concepts just wouldn’t be at all interesting if they were reducible to other concepts. It is because they articulate a new kind of object that they are worthwhile – and philosophically interesting too!

When I asked Tim what he would count as residing ‘within grammar’, he suggested that 'a way to grasp what ['sacrifice'] means would be to steep oneself in the Tarkovsky film of that name. To grasp the rule for that word, though, requires a profound change in one’s own character. Rules for the use of words, for the articulation of concepts, may require profound change opening one’s eyes to new tracts of the space of reasons.' Now if by rules of grammar we mean something immersed and particularistic in this way then, yes, I am more than happy to acknowledge that we can collapse revelations of the being of the psychoanalytic object into descriptions of the grammar of the key terms. What I don’t accept is something which Elder accepts – that the rules of grammar give us new ways of articulating or arranging what we already know. This, I think, radically underplays the radically essential value of the psychoanalytic concepts in articulating a distinct object and a distinctive understanding of the distinct object. I also want to stress one other thing about what is required for grasp of this or that ‘grammatical rule’. For, especially when it comes to psychoanalytical knowing, I think it is particularly clear that ‘getting the knack’ or ‘hang’ of, e.g., reading the patient’s unconscious, or of reading the counter-transference, is a matter of a development of sensibility. This has to do with ways of seeing (rather than inferring and explaining one thing in terms of another), modes of attunement, that are distinctively bodily, affective, moral, and require a good deal of reflective self-awareness and maturity. I also think that it is important that we hold onto the idea that what psychoanalysis articulates in its core understanding of human nature are truths about human nature. It does not simply offer us rules for representing something; it articulates how human beings fundamentally work. However what is not true, I believe, is that we can understand what ‘fundamentally working’ even amounts to here without already using psychoanalytical concepts.

Let me turn now to Michael’s concern. Michael is rightly impressed by the need to defend psychoanalysis against its myriad critics, and is at the forefront of important work defending psychoanalysis against philosophical misunderstandings and in laying out the evidence for, e.g., the effectiveness of psychoanalytical therapies. I too think this important, and certainly don’t want to be taken as laissez faire about this. However there is a bullet I must bite here, because I simply don’t think that inference to the best explanation is the right model for understanding the relationship between general analytical claims about the unconscious and claims about the kinds of behaviour that express unconscious affect and motivation. It would be very satisfying if we could use reason to out-smart the opponents of psychoanalysis by establishing that the only way to be rational in emotional-behavioural situation is to accept psychoanalytical claim Z, I just don’t think this is possible. (I don’t think it is possible for reasons articulated above: I think that the only relevant characterization of what we could misleadingly call the ‘data’ already draws on the psychoanalytical understanding: the relation between the two is internal and not external, and so cannot be bridged by inference to best explanation. As Joel Backstrom observed: 'we can only ever establish what are trivial matters; regarding matters of import one cannot establish a fucking thing'.)

As a mere matter of fact, I don’t think that anyone is ever really convinced of the truth of psychoanalytical claims in the way that Michael desires. I know that I wasn’t. Instead I gradually developed a sensibility, a living grasp of what the core psychoanalytical concepts mean, a grasp that took root over time in my own self-understanding and in my understanding of my patients and colleagues and friends. Case studies, stories, self-reflection, films, chance observations, learning from painful interactions in a relationship: these are the teaching fields of psychoanalytical theory. Furthermore, if someone is emotionally closed to such understanding, and either will not or cannot engage the psychoanalytic sensibility or mode of knowing, then I think that no amount of rational argument or attempted demonstration will be able to convince them. The meaning of the key psychoanalytical terms presupposes and cannot found the psychoanalytical sensibility - or they are at best internally related to one another. I don’t think this makes it any kind of closed circle, however – any more than psychological or musical or ethnographic or aesthetic or mathematical understanding is closed. Thankfully we can enter into the spirit of this or that human enquiry through routes other than inference! The same goes for allegations that it is a cult. The irreducible sui generisity of, more generally, humane understanding cannot make it a cult, and neither does it make for cultishness in psychoanalysis.

In fact isn't it like this: The person worried about cultishness thinks that viewing psychoanalytic discourse as a language-game with its own rules of representation and norms of correctness risks immunising it from criticism. But what are they thinking? Perhaps they are imagining that a language-game is some kind of description of an aspect of reality, or is correct or incorrect. Perhaps it does or does not cut 'nature' (whatever that putative generic object is supposed to be!) at its joints. (Talk of 'nature' already smacks mightily of a subliming of the logic of one's language!) But the whole point of talk of 'language games' is an acknowledgement that here we are having to do not with representations but with rules for representation. Standards of correctness are not themselves correct or incorrect - for that would just, weirdly, presuppose further standards of correctness which are, presumably, on pain of infinite regress, not themselves helpfully thought of as correct or incorrect. So whereas a cult believer is claiming a correct representation of how things really are, the psychoanalytic pundit is instead, in their core claims, articulating what things really being so amounts to, as regards our unconscious life. In the end, not only does psychoanalysis give us the psychological concepts to explicate just what cultishness itself consists in (i.e. splitting, projection, idealisation, identification, delusion, wish-fulfilment, etc.), but the 'grammatical' rather than 'representational' character of its core claims is precisely what makes for particular judgements made in psychoanalytic mode themselves being thought of as, intelligibly, correct or incorrect. Without logically inviolable rules of representation we are never going to come upon empirically violable representational judgements.

Monday, 2 March 2015


notes for a seminar presentation in Manchester this Wednesday...

1. Posits and Poiesis: Is the core understanding of psychoanalysis a scientific model? Do our articulations of the being of the unconscious amount to inferential posits, explanatory of human thought and action? Is their role fundamentally one of explanation, or is it one which provides us with a new form of comprehension revelatory of a distinct dimension of our existence? (I leave aside the issue here of whether science can be brought to bear on the question of whether psychoanalytical therapy works, focusing instead on the logical character of the core concepts of the unconscious.)

2. Vs. I want to avoid the following way of framing the debate. (How easy it is to slip into it!) This frame construes the debate as between meanings versus causes, hermeneutics versus science, understanding versus explanation. This would be a debate in the metaphysics of mind, in the philosophy of science, etc., where we'd have to do with allegedly distinct side-by-side categories, and picking the right one. We do well, I suspect, to deconstruct some of these alleged either/or's. (My sparring partner in this debate, Michael Lacewing, does an excellent job of this.)

3. Instead I will frame it as one of Primordiality. Ur. (Not, I hope, Er, or Err.) Underlying representational forms of knowing, where essence and existence are kept clearly apart, where we create a space for nature the space to answer for herself the questions we put to her, we have I believe a more fundamental form of knowing. Truth and knowing here as i) disclosure, evocation, revelation - rather than as ii) adequation, judgement, representation, correspondence. (The latter as dependent on the former. Metaphysics is a forgetfulness of the former; philosophy as its recovery.) Explanatory posits in science have to do with ii) an encounter structured by representational judgement. But unconscious motivation, unconscious emotion, inner conflict, compromise formation, repression, projection, sublimation etc. are, as concepts, more fundamental than ii). They frame our knowing, delineate our inquiry, revealing its objects to us in its sui generisity.

4. On What is Science. Well, we can say whatever we like. Thus, if by something being 'scientific' we just mean that it involves a reasonably internally coherent body of knowledge, then clearly psychoanalysis (and the study of mythology, literary theory, etc.) is a science. I am more than happy to think of psychoanalysis as a science if we count anthropology, say, as a science. (Not much turns on it, other than the rhetorical and political dimensions of funding applications etc.) But here what I offer as important as a necessary condition for something being scientific is the separability of conceptual essence and material existence: such that we can clearly understand what it is for something to be an X and yet for it to be a matter of inquiry as to whether X obtains. Thus Freud on the unconscious: we need to posit unconscious desires, emotions and motivations, he says, to make sense of the observable phenomena of dreams, slips, suggestion effects, and symptoms. It is the best explanation we have of such phenomena. The separability of essence and existence, this 'logical gap', allows us to stand back from and put a question to nature without it having already been answered; the resultant answer will then be the central understanding provided by 'psychoanalysis'. By contrast with this I urge that the central understanding of the unconscious etc., is not an answer to an already articulable question, but rather a revelation which affords us the possibility of asking new questions.

5. Bone-Picking and PaleOntology. (Riffing on an example provided to a somewhat opposite end by Michael.) There's a pile of bones in the clay. We can arrange them however we like - for aesthetic purposes perhaps. As yet there is no correct or incorrect arrangement of them - it depends on what we are trying to illustrate or express. But we may also be trying to understand what animals they belonged to, and desiring to devise an adequate taxonomy of these animals (dinosaurs). So we arrange them this or that way, undertake further studies, integrate and constrain these arrangements with what else is understood. We arrive at two possible patterns, and then further evidence and theoretical modelling takes us to prefer one over the other. There may be no 'direct access' to the dinosaurs. But yet we know what talk here of a correct arrangement of the bones consists in: it consists in arranging them according to which brutes they actually originally belonged to. We can get this wrong or right - i.e we are operating here with a normative conception of truth.

6. Matter, Volume, Narrative Structure. By contrast with our bones example, we don't explain anything in chemistry or physics or sociology by saying that objects are made of matter, that audibility is partly a function of volume, that objects have centres of gravity, or by delineating something called narrative structure. Thus we can come to understand what someone says over time by bringing it under a concept of narrative structure; the comprehensible gestalts their discourse embodies are thereby made intelligible. (Please note that I am here offering the concepts of 'narrative structure' etc. as merely analogous for the concepts of the unconscious, defence mechanisms, inner conflict, etc. I am not propounding a hermeneutic theory of psychoanalysis!) But we are not explaining sayings by invoking the concept of narrative structure.

7. Importantly, what will count as understanding here, in these sub-scientific cases, is I believe itself already delineated by reference to the core concepts on offer. One might (cautiously) say that the concepts (matter, narrative structure, centre of gravity) form part of the 'window we look through', or they form the 'terms of agreement' which specifies what is to count as what. (A danger of these visual metaphors is that they risk steering us towards a kind of transcendental idealism, since now the concepts seem to speak nothing of the objects of experience themselves but only of the form of our encounter with them. The same is true of Wittgensteinian metaphors to do with frameworks; hence the value of a Heideggerian alternative which stresses the revelatory relation of the concepts to the sui generis being of the objects.) They partly determine what is to count as explanatorily satisfying here. They set up or constitute norms, they themselves form the accounting system, and so are not themselves intelligibly thought of as normatively accountable (correct or incorrect). (Charles Elder, p.46: 'the proposition "There is an unconscious" is internal to the logic of psychoanalysis.')

8. There are various possible illicit motivations for a treatment of the core concepts of psychoanalysis as scientific posits. (I leave aside possible good motivations here to instead dissect the dubious!) a. Mentalism. b. Inferentialism. c. Introspectionism. d. Conceptualism. e. Sublimation. I will focus here mainly on the last, but first:

9.a. Mentalism. Mentalism is the literalisation of the 'mind is inner' metaphor; it is sometimes combined with materialism to generate the 'mind is brain' equation. If the mind is understood as inner - i.e. as constitutively (and not merely occasionally - as when we keep to ourselves what we are thinking) hidden behind behaviour, comportment and expression rather than (properly as) immanent within them - then it will be natural to suppose that we observers of behaviour - behaviour now construed as outer - will require inference to take us from outer  to inner. (Either the 'theory theory' or the 'simulation' approach to so-called 'theory of mind' threaten to rear their ugly retro 1990s heads.) We are now essentially required to posit, to theoretically reconstruct the inner causes of, what we encounter in visible behaviour. If 'folk psychology' (everyday understandings of one another in terms of desires, knowledge, intentions etc.) is to be understood as lay science in this way (and the very name 'folk psychology' does rather give the game away as to the unargued metaphysical bent of this whole 'black box' approach to everyday interpersonal understanding), then all the more so for psychoanalysis.

9.b. Inferentialism. Mentalism is not the only driver of the view that core psychoanalytic concepts are inferential posits. Another is the view that our experiences occur in distinct temporal episodes, so that since what we experience when, for example, we encounter someone's unconsciously motivated disavowal, is a pattern of behaviour extending over time, then inference is required to knit together the temporally extended episodes. (During this time we may after all be perceiving a range of behaviours which are not germane to the understanding in question - so from this rather optional point of view there may be said to be 'gaps' in our experience.) On the view I propose the registering of someone's defensive operations will amount to the grasping via know-how of a gestalt shape to their affective interactions, and it is certainly true that such an experience of them may extend over a good stretch of time. For example it might stretch over 15 minutes in a session. However whilst our experiences of one another may be composed of long stretches of engaged interaction, this does not entail that they are knitted together through inference. What knits together the gestalt is instead a range of ongoing subpersonal processes. When we come to 'just see', to 'get the knack or hang' of, someone's unconscious life, we have become sensitised to a gestalt. But just as for grasping the meaning of what an author is saying through a reading experience that extends over, say, a couple of paragraphs, it is not I believe obligatory to call here on the concepts either of inference or of explanation to knit together and delineate the form of our  comprehension.

9c. Introspectionism also comes along naturally with mentalism but may not be an obligatory bedfellow. At any rate, Freud appears to have been gulled by an introspectionist idea of consciousness (e.g. in his essay on The Unconscious section 1 (justification for the concept)). This is the idea that conscious, non-repressed, thoughts and feelings are thoughts and feelings that can readily be accessed through themselves being inwardly experienced - i.e. where they are the objects of an inner attention. The mentalist gives us a picture of the mind as a black box, but the theorist who believes that it is helpful to construe conscious thoughts as those which we are aware of will be inclined to think of consciousness as a revelatory light that can shine, in our own cases, into the workings of our minds which minds may yet be black boxes to others but which are bathed in a Cartesian glow in our own cases. The unconscious, on this reading, is what escapes the light of introspection - it is a black box even to us. Hence the need for posits that go beyond what can be inwardly observed - beyond what is 'accessible to consciousness' as the access-to-the-interior metaphor has it. This however traduces the grammar both of consciousness and of the dynamic unconscious. Conscious mental states are in truth those which can be spoken from, and which are largely integrated into the rest of our psychology. Avowability, not introspectibility, is the criterion of consciousness (David Finkelstein). Unconscious mental states are not avowable and are unintegrated. In neither case, conscious or unconscious, are we typically transitively aware of our own mental states - or if we are it is typically not all that helpful to us! Rather our mental states (our desires, feelings, intentions) are themselves forms of our relatedness to - including sometimes our awareness of - various states of affairs. Other people can however encounter both our conscious and unconscious mental states - since they find expression in our behaviour (as Freud so comprehensively demonstrates).

9d. By 'conceptualism' I have in mind that understanding of the constitutive significance of language for experience which frames language as a mediator of experience. In other words, of language as something which picks up, stands between, and carries over, what is pre-conceptually provided by the senses and delivers it to the understanding. In this view of the reach of concepts which has them not, as it were, as themselves extending all the way out to the world (to deploy a McDowellian trope), it may come to seem more than natural to start to talk of conceptual posits and inferences regarding a non-conceptual beyond: in effect this kind of conceptualism is of a piece with mentalism itself. It seems to me however that this psychologised Kantianism unwarrantedly superimposes two scenarios: the one having to do with the biomechanics of - the material basis of - experience and thought, and the other having to do with the normative relations between experience and judgement (cf Susan Hurley).

10 Narcissism and Sublimation. The concept of 'sublimation' I am calling on here is the Wittgensteinian, rather than the Freudian, one (i.e. when LW talks of the temptation to 'sublime the logic of our language'). Have an example: We talk of whether bank notes, smiles, monsters, fairies, coffee, love, Picassos, etc. are real or fake or unreal or mythical. What it means for a smile and for a monster to be real is of course intuitively rather different. If however we 'hypostasise' or 'sublime' the concept of 'reality', then we wrench it out from its diverse conceptual homes and posit some super-object (Reality) to which all of the above concepts allegedly stand in a conceptually univocal relation. We might then start to wonder whether our individual conceptual schemes 'pick out anything 'in reality''. The ways in which our conceptual schemes (for feelings, money, facial expressions etc.) themselves proffer rather different reality-establishing procedures for their specific objects becomes forgotten. Furthermore - and this is the 'narcissism' of metaphysics - we start to imagine that we can within our own heads provide and hold onto meanings for the terms of our metaphysical questions in abstraction from a participatory immersion in such reality-establishing practices.

A result of this metaphysical drift of the participatory sense-making human (i.e. of 'Dasein') into a domain of Representation (Essence) and a separate domain of Reality (Existence) is that particular examples of non-instantiated concepts get used as licenses for extrapolation to the putative logical possibility of most any concept not being instantiated. For example: it is an intelligible suggestion that monsters and fairies do not obtain: their essence and existence are separable. But in truth this possibility is parasitic on our grasp of concepts like person and animal. Yet it is in no way obvious that it makes sense to suggest that we might be right or wrong to think that the concepts of 'person' and 'animal' pick out anything real, anything that, as we might put it, actually obtains. And this is because it isn't at all obvious that concepts like these work to 'pick out' anything at all. (To grasp the philosophical meaning of 'pick out', imagine that you're left standing outside of some situation looking over at it, and you offer someone various patterned sketches on a piece of paper, sketches that allegedly correspond to some patterns manifesting in the situation you are looking over at. … And now try to imagine that a comprehending reality contact is itself thinkable in such terms…) Concepts like these are not first set up in a representational space and then brought to bear on a domain outside. Rather they articulate aspects of our engagements with the natural and social world. They are, one could say, unanswerable. Only by splitting our engaged, immersed, enacted, expressive lives off into always separable domains of the Representation and of the Real do we start to imagine that our concepts are always up for adequation.

(Starting with this idea of mind as Representation, and despairing of the epistemic predicament that a Realism about External Reality places us in, and lacking in confidence that we can intelligibly offer Such and Such an External Real as, say, the 'best explanation' for our Representations, we can even be tempted by Idealism, imagining that our only option to bring mind into contact with reality is to reconstruct the latter out of the former….)

Some of the key concepts that readily get sublimed in the philosophy of psychoanalysis are, I believe, those of patterns, behaviour, understanding and the mind. Thus psychoanalysis gets offered as a 'theory of how the mind works'. It is said that its concepts 'pick out patterns' in human behaviour. It supposedly helps us to 'understand' what couldn't otherwise be understood. However these truths are, I believe, actually disguised truisms, and so the philosophical discussion therefore too readily runs the risk of an unwarranted 'smugness' (this again is the 'narcissism' I mentioned above). The truth of the propositions gets proffered as having a justificatory significance for the psychoanalytic endeavour. However psychoanalysis simultaneously adjusts our understanding not only of the explanans but also of the explananda. What is meant by mental, what now counts as an understanding, what a pattern amounts to here, and what now is to count as intentional behaviour, all subtly change in their meanings. Thus it won't do to say that the extensions of folk psychology offered by psychoanalysis can be warranted in terms of their explanatory payback, since psychoanalysis is also extending our sense of what here counts as legitimate explanation. Psychoanalysis articulates new experiential gestalts, new objects, and new modes of comprehension.

11. Inceptual versus Representational Thought. It's tempting to articulate the above critique of a representational conception of central psychoanalytical truth claims simply by using a Wittgensteinian discourse of language games, rules, framework propositions, etc. Charles Elder does this and suggests at times that psychoanalysis offers us new ways of describing what we already know. The trouble with this way of trying to spell out the inadequacies of the view of core analytical concepts as posits is, it seems to me, that it ends up reinstating a dualism of 'not always the facts, but rather sometimes how we describe the facts'. It supposes, one could say, that either we have to do with representations of what is or with rules of representation; in both cases we are firmly in the representation game. There is something right, as I see it, in the impulse to resist the urge to assume it is intelligible to ask 'but are dreams really wish fulfillments?' or 'are symptoms really compromise formations?' But this, I want to suggest, is not because we meet here with rules for representing what we otherwise know, but rather because we have to do with a more founding notion of truth as an unconcealment in which there is, as such, no room for adequation - i.e. no room for the question 'does what is said correspond to what actually obtains?'

On this vision of truth as revelation, intuitions may be said to correspond to concepts only because there is a more primordial level of unity from which they both emerge, a level of grounding attunement specific to its diverse objects. The question for psychoanalytic training is how to cultivate such an attunement in the social animal that is the analytic trainee - how to get the knack of reading the countertransference for example - and how not to get pulled back into the forgetfulness of the necessarily unaccountable, sui generic, being of the unconscious that representational thought encourages.

A final remark. There is I think every reason to suppose that representational thought graduates off into rule articulation and into inceptual thought. Science and phenomenology need, in practice, not always be utterly distinct; whether we have to do with explanation or with articulation in some particular case will not always be decidable. This however does, I believe, nothing to warrant the claim that it is all best theorised in non-representational or in representational terms, nothing to warrant the idea that it is all inceptual or all posit. What we must do is decide in particular cases what we have to do with, and acknowledge grey areas for what they are. The contrast is useful, I suggest, partly because it helps provide a sense to talk of 'science' and 'phenomenology' themselves here. In this talk I've not so much been concerned to demonstrate that the core understanding of psychoanalysis is inceptual rather than representational - is poiesis rather than posit - but rather to make clear what is meant by claiming this possibility. (Interesting to think too what it would mean to practice psychoanalysis in an alethic rather than representational mode: perhaps it would amount to offering the patient ethical recognition rather than in descriptively recognising what is going on in his mind as an instance of this or that.)