Troubles with Self-Consciousness. Jervis on Introspection and Defense Mechanisms

Massimo Marraffa


Building on Sigmund Freud, Ernesto de Martino and cognitive sciences, Giovanni Jervis has outlined a view of introspective consciousness as primarily an activity of narrative re-appropriation of the outputs of the unconscious cognitive processing, emphasizing that such an activity is ruled by the primary need to construct an identity that is valid as much as possible. Thus Jervis has originally pursued an integration between the anti-introspectionist tradition in cognitive sciences and the psychodynamic investigation on defense mechanisms. This paper outlines Jervis attempt to integrate these two traditions, and shows that it fits very well with recent developments of the theory-theory approach to self-knowledge. 

Key words: Self-consciousness Introspection - Defense mechanisms - Crisis of presence 

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