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Aisling Campbell – from Neuroscience to Neuropsychoanalysis – Mission Imossible


THE LETTER 21 (Spring 2001) pages 106-112


Having been dispatched by Cormac Gallagher to a conference on Neuroscientific and Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Emotion this summer, I concluded that to bring together neuroscience and psychoanalysis is a challenge to say the least and that Cormac, by sponsoring this trip had set me – should I choose to accept it – a ‘Mission Impossible’. For many psychoanalysts, neuroscience is imbued with all the imaginary enmity associated with the other; for neuroscientists, psychoanalysis is generally treated with disdain, provoked by the lack of certainty that is crucial to psychoanalysis. Dialogue between the two fields is, when it does occur, hostile in the main. The relationship between psychoanalysis and neuroscience is like that of the subject and his counterpart; each sees in the other unforgivable faults and failures. I hope to move the context of this debate from the ‘other’ to the ‘Other’ and to shift the potential dialogue from the imaginary to something more fruitful.

from Neuroscience to Neuropsychoanalysis – Mission Imossible

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