1) How the Idea and the Term "Unconscious Mind" Entered European Thought
   Prior to Descartes and his sharp definition of the dualism there was no cause to contemplate the possible existence of unconscious mentality as part of a separate realm of mind. Many religious and speculative thinkers had taken for granted factors lying outside but influencing immediate awareness. . . . Until an attempt had been made (with apparent success) to choose awareness as the defining characteristic of mind, there was no occasion to invent the idea of unconscious mind. . . . It is only after Descartes that we find, first the idea and then the term "unconscious mind" entering European thought. (Whyte, 1962, p. 25)
   2) Why Awareness Cannot Be Taken as the Criterion of Mentality
   If there are two realms, physical and mental, awareness cannot be taken as the criterion of mentality [because] the springs of human nature lie in the unconscious . . . as the realm which links the moments of human awareness with the background of organic processes within which they emerge. (Whyte, 1962, p. 63)
   3) The Unconscious Was Not Invented by Freud
   [T]he unconscious was no more invented by Freud than evolution was invented by Darwin, and has an equally impressive pedigree, reaching back to antiquity. . . . At the dawn of Christian Europe the dominant influence were the Neoplatonists; foremost among them Plotinus, who took it for granted that "feelings can be present without awareness of them," that "the absence of a conscious perception is no proof of the absence of mental activity," and who talked confidently of a "mirror" in the mind which, when correctly aimed, reflects the processes going on inside it, when aimed in another direction, fails to do so-but the process goes on all the same. Augustine marvelled at man's immense store of unconscious memories-"a spreading, limitless room within me-who can reach its limitless depth?"
   The knowledge of unconscious mentation had always been there, as can be shown by quotations from theologians like St. Thomas Aquinas, mystics like Jacob Boehme, physicians like Paracelsus, astronomers like Kepler, writers and poets as far apart as Dante, Cervantes, Shakespeare, and Montaigne. This in itself is in no way remarkable; what is remarkable is that this knowledge was lost during the scientific revolution, more particularly under the impact of its most influential philosopher, Rene Descartes. (Koestler, 1964, p. 148)
   4) The Constructive Nature of Automatic Cognitive Functioning Argues for the Existence of Unconscious Activity
   The constructive nature of the automatic functioning argues the existence of an activity analogous to consciousness though hidden from observation, and we have therefore termed it unconscious. The negative prefix suggests an opposition, but it is no more than verbal, not any sort of hostility or incompatibility being implied by it, but simply the absence of consciousness. Yet a real opposition between the conscious and the unconscious activity does subsist in the limitations which the former tends to impose on the latter. (Ghiselin, 1985, p. 7)

Historical dictionary of quotations in cognitive science. . 2015.

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  • unconscious — [unkän′shəs] adj. 1. a) not endowed with consciousness; mindless b) temporarily deprived of consciousness [unconscious from a blow on the head] 2. not aware (of) [unconscious of his mistake] 3. not known, realized, or intended; not done, said,… …   English World dictionary

  • Unconscious — Un*con scious, a. 1. Not conscious; having no consciousness or power of mental perception; without cerebral appreciation; hence, not knowing or regarding; ignorant; as, an unconscious man. Cowper. [1913 Webster] 2. Not known or apprehended by… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Unconscious-ly — Unconscious Un*con scious, a. 1. Not conscious; having no consciousness or power of mental perception; without cerebral appreciation; hence, not knowing or regarding; ignorant; as, an unconscious man. Cowper. [1913 Webster] 2. Not known or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Unconscious — can mean: * not conscious * unconsciousness: the loss of consciousness or lack of consciousness, not to be confused with altered states of consciousness. * Unconscious mind, the mind operating well below the perception of the conscious mind as… …   Wikipedia

  • unconscious — ► ADJECTIVE 1) not awake and aware of and responding to one s environment. 2) done or existing without one realizing. 3) (unconscious of) unaware of. ► NOUN (the unconscious) ▪ the part of the mind which is inaccessible to the conscious mind but… …   English terms dictionary

  • unconscious — (adj.) 1712, unaware, not marked by conscious thought, from UN (Cf. un ) (1) not + CONSCIOUS (Cf. conscious). Meaning temporarily insensible, knocked out is recorded from 1860. In psychology, the noun the unconscious (1884) is a loan translation… …   Etymology dictionary

  • unconscious — [adj1] not awake; out cold benumbed, blacked out*, bombed*, cold*, comatose, dead to the world*, drowsy, entranced, feeling no pain*, flattened*, inanimate, in a trance, inert, insensate, insensible, knocked*, lethargic, numb, on the canvas*, out …   New thesaurus

  • unconscious — index blind (not discerning), incognizant, insensible, involuntary, oblivious, torpid, unaware, unintentional …   Law dictionary

  • unconscious — unconsciously, adv. unconsciousness, n. /un kon sheuhs/, adj. 1. not conscious; without awareness, sensation, or cognition. 2. temporarily devoid of consciousness. 3. not perceived at the level of awareness; occurring below the level of conscious …   Universalium

  • unconscious — un|con|scious1 [ ʌn kanʃəs ] adjective * 1. ) in a condition similar to sleep in which you do not see, feel, or think, usually because you are injured: She was unconscious but still breathing when the ambulance arrived. knock/beat someone… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • unconscious — un|con|scious1 [ʌnˈkɔnʃəs US ˈka:n ] adj 1.) unable to see, move, feel etc in the normal way because you are not conscious ▪ She was found alive but unconscious. knock/beat sb unconscious ▪ Levin was knocked unconscious by the impact. 2.) a… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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