Freud and Jackson: Dualism and Anti-Localizationism

  • David Livingstone Smith
Part of the Studies in Cognitive Systems book series (COGS, volume 23)


It is widely recognized that Freud was strongly influenced by the work of John Hughlings Jackson. Freud’s intellectual encounter with Jackson occurred in the context of aphasiology. In his book On Aphasia (1891), Freud unequivocally endorsed Jackson’s views, enlisting his support against the views of German-speaking authorities such as Meynert, Wernicke and Lichtheim.76 If Freud’s debt to Jackson had been confined to his work on the neurophysiology of language disorders, concern with the Jackson-Freud connection would be nothing more that a footnote to the early history of neuroscience. However, aphasiology in the late nineteenth century was an exciting cross-disciplinary field.77 It was a meeting-point for philosophy, neuroscience and psychology analogous to the status of blindsight studies in contemporary cognitive science.78 Freud encountered and responded to Jackson’s views on the mind-body relationship, the regimentation of neuroscientific and psychological language, anti-localizationism as well as specific neuroscientific propositions. In the present chapter I will examine Freud’s response to Jackson’s philosophy of mind as well as his eventual rejection of aspects of the Jacksonian position, and then contrast Freud’s mature position with that of Jackson.


Physiological Correlate Language Disorder Neural State Sensory Aphasia Mental Item 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1999

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  • David Livingstone Smith

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