One of the most widespread dichotomies in psychology is the conscious-unconscious distinction. It is a matter of fact that various theoretical proposals of this kind are available, some sharing similar aspects, some showing dissimilarities. This can be easily noticed by a brief analysis of the various expressions used to account for this distinction: implicit vs. explicit, intuition vs. reason, automatic vs. deliberative, subpersonal vs. personal, etc. This reflects a certain elusiveness of concepts as consciousness and unconsciousness. Such a situation turns out to be problematic, in that criticism against this dichotomy is rarely moved towards a specific theory or position but rather to a wide class of theories, actually treating all of the theories appealing to the dichotomy in the same manner. In order to avoid treating all of the theories alike, the paper will propose a comparison between the theories of two authors, John Bargh and Daniel Kahneman, concerning the conscious-unconscious distinction and their relations. On the basis of such analysis, our aim is to assess how conscious processes are influential in explaining human behaviours, despite the emphasis placed by the authors on the unconscious dimension. It is our opinion that the two models’ analysis suggests taking the conscious dimension seriously, which is fundamental in the explanation of the unitary nature of human behaviour. In conclusion, we hope that the co-
gnitive sciences develop towards acknowledgment of the conscious mental dimension, its peculiarities connected to subjectivity and volition, its functioning, and its relationships to the unconscious dimension. From our viewpoint, this shift of focus on consciousness, whilst recognising its peculiar characteristics, is a central requirement in order to provide a full explanation of human behaviour.
|Translated title of the contribution||[Autom. eng. transl.] One or more minds? Some critical comments regarding two definitions of the distinction between conscious and unconscious.|
|Title of host publication||Nuovi sguardi sulle scienze cognitive|
|Editors||Marco Elio Tabacchi Marco Cruciani|
|Number of pages||11|
|Publication status||Published - 2017|
|Name||I LINGUAGGI DELLE SCIENZE COGNITIVE|
- Philosophy of Psychology, Conscious and unconscious cognition, dual-process theories.