Recommend to your Librarian

The Political Mind

or 'How to Think Differently'

Kieran Laird

eBook (PDF) i

What does it mean to 'think differently'?

The ability to create thoughts is what lies at the base of philosophy and political theory and practice. One cannot hope to change the world, or even adequately critique it, without the possibility of the new in mental life.

The Political Mind explores the possibility of thinking differently through connecting neuropsychological material on consciousness, nonconsciousness and affect to political theory. It spans diverse disciplines: from hard-edged neuropsychology to sociology, economics, political theory and Eastern and Western philosophy. Its originality lies in its ability to draw meaningful connections between such disparate literatures, weaving a coherent whole. It then applies the concepts created to the currently popular topics of consumerism and the anti-capitalist and anti-globalisation movements.

Key Features

  • Explores the manufacture of the self in consumer society*Suitable for readers interested in philosophy of mind, poststructuralist political theory, and connections between psychology, sociology and politics*Adds to a small but growing literature regarding the interconnection between neuropsychology and politics


Introduction - The Political Mind
i. Behaviourism: The political automaton
ii. Freud: The politics of the unconscious self and society
iii. Humanism: Self-centred politics
iv. Postmodernism: Taking the self out of politics
v. The politics of synapses?
1. The Neuroscience of Consciousness
i. Historical trends in the theory of the unconscious
a) The supernatural unconscious
b) The natural unconscious
c) The mechanical unconscious
ii. The nonconscious: How individual are you?
a) Libet and the mysterious half-second
b) Gazzaniga and LeDoux: Why did you do that?
2. The Politics of Neuroscience
i. The Materialist Problem
ii. William Connolly and Neuropolitical Dualism
iii. How do we politicise neuroscience?
3. The Political Use of Emotion
i. The psycho-social nature of emotion
ii. Feeling consumed
4. Endlessly Repeating Ourselves - Narrative and Self-Repetition
i. The story of consciousness
ii. Excursus on Community
iii. The philosophy of neurological temporality
iv. Stuck in a moment that you can't get out of?
5. Psychological Revolt
i. The potential of the personal conscious
ii. The potential of the social self
6. The Political Nonconscious
i. The problems of nonconscious politics
ii. The possibilities of nonconscious politics
Conclusion - Skilful Means

About the Author

Keiran Laird is a Lecturer in Political Theory at Queen's University, Belfast.