RSS Twitter iCal - Members: Login or Register Search

February 22, 2007, 7:30 PM

What is Guilt?

Participants: Donald Carveth, Marcia Cavell (moderator), Michael Eigen, Jay Greenberg, Michael Lewis

In psychoanalysis, the concept of unconscious guilt is frequently used to explain certain kinds of self punitive behavior, even though Freud himself questioned the validity of such a conceptualization and appeared to prefer the problematic concept of an unconscious need for punishment. In neuroscience, the relationship of guilt--which Jaak Panksepp describes as belonging to the group of secondary cognitive type emotions, along with jealousy, hate, contempt, embarrassment and shame--to the basic emotions, with their relatively well established brain centers, remains ill defined. The study of this relationship is therefore difficult, if not impossible, even in this period of major advances in brain studies brought about through neuroimaging. This roundtable will take a multidisciplinary approach in examining the topic of guilt to illuminate the difficulties of the concept.

Donald Carveth is Professor of Sociology and Social & Political Thought at York University in Toronto and Training and Supervising Analyst at the Canadian Institute of Psychoanalysis. He is past Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Journal of Psychoanalysis and recently published several papers distinguishing guilt from self-punishment.

Marcia Cavell is a philosopher and psychoanalyst. She is author of The Psychoanalytic Mind: From Freud to Philosophy.

Michael Eigen, PhD., is the author of fifteen books, including Ecstasy, Rage, Lust, Toxic Nourishment and Feeling Matters, which is due out this fall. He is Editor of The Psychoanalytic Review and practices psychotherapy in New York City.

Jay R. Greenberg is Training and Supervising Analyst at the William Alanson White Institute and past Editor of Contemporary Psychoanalysis. He is the author of Oedipus and Beyond: A Clinical Theory and co-author, with Stephen Mitchell, of Object Relations in Psychoanalytic Theory.

Michael Lewis, Ph.D., is University Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry and Director of the Institute for the Study of Child Development at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. He is also Professor of Psychology, Education and Biomedical Engineering at Rutgers University and serves on the Executive Committee of the Cognitive Science Center. His books on self consciousness and emotion include Social Cognition and the Acquisition of Self, Shame: The Exposed Self and the Handbook of Emotions, of which he is editor.


Discussion Board

This forum allows for an ongoing discussion of the above Philoctetes event. You may use this space to share your thoughts or to pose questions for panelists. An attempt will be made to address questions during the live event or as part of a continued online dialogue.

Post a Comment

(URLs will display as links.)
If you are a Philoctetes subscriber, please log in below to post to our event discussions. Or sign up now for a free subscription so you can post to our discussions and optionally receive our email announcements and our bi-monthly newsletter.
E-mail Address:
Password: (Forgot your password?)