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Chapter 14

PSYB30H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 14: Existentialism, Western Philosophy, Psychoanalysis


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYB30H3
Professor
Marc A Fournier
Chapter
14

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Chapter 14 Existential Psychoanalysis
Both existential and psychoanalysis theories stem from understanding of anxiety, despair and
alienation
The Existential Attitude
Existentialism focuses on the human being as he/she is emerging or becoming
o Understand human beings in terms of drives and forces
Western philosophy concentrates on essence of being, the laws that are believed to govern
existence
“We are participants in the game
May believed that when we are using abstract concepts we are not talking about the real person
Believed preoccupation with lawfulness and predictability stands in the way of understanding
the real person
Seeks to explain simpler things with more complex terms
Deals with the knowledge of what it means to be human
Existentialism resists objectivity, because some truths such as understanding what it means to
be, are found through personal involvement
Believe that human knowledge is ultimately interpersonal
Our Predicament
May believed the central problem we face is powerlessness
Powerlessness
With increased technology power has become impersonal acting on its own behalf
The fear of nuclear war is a prime example
Our powerlessness leads to anxiety, and also breeds violence
Anxiety
May believed people use the word stress in place of anxiety because it comes from
engineering/physics and can be defined/measured accurately and easily
Defined anxiety as apprehension by a threat to some value an individual holds essential to their
existence
Anxiety is innate and the distinction between self and object breaks down
Fear is an expression of anxiety in an objectified form
Anxiety is intensified in our competitive culture, where the self is viewed as an object and self
validation depends on winning
Our attempts to dispel anxiety actually increase it drugs, alcohol, etc.
The Loss of Values
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We have lost the value of individualism and have become estranged from nature and each other
We need to discover a new set of values, that are established through the course of our
existence
o The choice is ours and so is the responsibility
Rediscovering Selfhood
Consciousness of the self allows us to distinguish between ourselves and the world, to learn
from the past, to plan, to see ourselves as others do, and to have empathy for others
Self consciousness may create anxiety because we must stand on our own and develop our own
identity that is separate from our parents
Human beings grown through choice and affirmation
Selfhood grows through interpersonal relations
May, Rogers, and Maslow all thought that not studying the self,, is to miss an important feature
of human experience
Ontological Assumptions Concerning the Person
May made philosophical assumptions on an ontological level the level of being
o All organisms are centered in themselves, and seek to preserve that center
o Humans have the need and possibility of going out of their centeredness to participate
with others
o Sickness is a method to preserve out being even though it may be limiting
o Human beings have a self consciousness with the ability to transcened the immediate
situation and consider a wider range of possibilities
Unconscious experience is experiences that an individual cannot actualize
Saw Oedipus’s exile as showing that we are aware of our responsibility for our own life, so we
can confront life and death
Four Stages of Consciousness of Self
Stage of innocence is when you are an infant
Stage of rebellion seek to establish an inner strength
Ordinary consciousness of self learning from mistakes and living responsibly
Creative consciousness of self ability to see something outside of usual viewpoint and gain a
glimpse of ultimate truth
o Alot like maslow’s peak experiences
Goals of Integration
Paradox is two opposing things that cannot exist without each other
The Diamonic
Diamonic is anything that has the power to take over the whole person
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