J Am Acad Psychoanal Dyn Psychiatry 2009;37(2):315-51
Abstract Even in this so-called era of the brain, there has been no consensual agreement on understanding the genesis of the mind by the brain, the problem that also baffled Freud, the neurologist at the start of his great discoveries. Especially, there has been no progress in solving what is known as the "hard problem," namely, how neurophysiological processes in the brain can produce conscious experiences, feelings, and intentions that constitute the "qualia," the various aspects of the phenomena of consciousness. Some of the predominant contemporary positions on the mind-brain problem, from Freud's Project for a Scientific Psychology to the present day, will be described and some of the technical vocabulary will be explained. I will conclude from this review that the "mysterian" position or some derivatives of it such as "anomalous monism" or "agnostic materialism" are probably the most plausible, given the present state of our knowledge and capacities. The latter two positions suggest that we simply do not know enough about the physical world of matter at this time but eventually perhaps discoveries about the nature of matter may solve the problem. But as of now, the implication of this impasse is that the introspective data of consciousness are ontologically subjective, pointing to the absolute necessity for our studying this data in its own domain through introspection. The most meticulous and thorough method for this study is psychoanalytic psychiatry, which was specifically devised by Freud for that purpose.