“The Medulla Oblongata Is a Very Serious and Lovely Object.” A Comparison of Neuroscientific and Psychoanalytical Theories

  • Edith SeifertEmail author


Seifert begins her article with the hypothesis that neuroscience can provide a theoretical framework for psychoanalysis, but her analysis ultimately shows this claim to be inadequate. Although Freud’s dictum that man is “not even master in his own home” applies equally to the logic of the brain and central nervous system as it does to the logic of the psyche/the unconscious, there is still a decisive difference when it comes to the unconscious and Freud’s often neglected topographical definition of it as a place of alterity, inaccessible by the conscious and perpetually alien. According to Seifert, we need to be more aware of the disconnect between body and soul and recognize that both psychoanalytic theorems and neuroscientific discoveries are rooted in language. This means that the laws of neuroscience and the laws of psychoanalysis are indeed not the same and that an epistemic leap across the gap between the empirical objectivity of neurons and a symbolic order of the psyche is necessary.


Linguistic neuroscience Structural psychoanalysis Benjamin Libet E. Du Bois-Reymond Lacan Psycho-physical parallelism J. M. Charcot 


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychoanalytischer Salon BerlinBerlinGermany

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