is sigmund freud a philosopher

Freud, through his concepts of the Conscious and Unconscious, and through practice of hypnosis, was led to the treatment of psychological disorders through talking, which he termed as psychoanalysis. It is true that this is not always a simple process, as in science causes are sometimes unobservable (sub-atomic particles, radio and electromagnetic waves, molecular structures, and so forth), but in these latter cases there are clear correspondence rules connecting the unobservable causes with observable phenomena. Even though his concepts have sparked much debate and controversy, Freud has been termed as the father of modern psychology. Hence it is concluded that the theory is not scientific, and while this does not, as some critics claim, rob it of all value, it certainly diminishes its intellectual status as projected by its strongest advocates, including Freud himself. But in all cases the cure is created essentially by a kind of catharsis or purgation—a release of the pent-up psychic energy, the constriction of which was the basic cause of the neurotic illness. The scope of Freud’s interests, and of his professional training, was very broad. There are, he held, an indefinitely large number of such instincts, but these can be reduced to a small number of basic ones, which he grouped into two broad generic categories, Eros (the life instinct), which covers all the self-preserving and erotic instincts, and Thanatos (the death instinct), which covers all the instincts towards aggression, self-destruction, and cruelty. Id is entirely the unconscious mind, which operates solely for the gain of pleasures. By what standard is this being judged? (see Pendergast, M. Victims of Memory). One of the problems here is that it is difficult to specify what counts as a cure for a neurotic illness as distinct, say, from a mere alleviation of the symptoms. Maybe Freud was a philosopher? This is followed by a stage in which the locus of pleasure or energy release is the anus, particularly in the act of defecation, and this is accordingly termed the anal stage. In fact, the controversy which exists in relation to Freud is more heated and multi-faceted than that relating to virtually any other post-1850 thinker (a possible exception being Darwin), with criticisms ranging from the contention that Freud’s theory was generated by logical confusions arising out of his alleged long-standing addiction to cocaine (see Thornton, E.M. Freud and Cocaine: The Freudian Fallacy) to the view that he made an important, but grim, empirical discovery, which he knowingly suppressed in favour of the theory of the unconscious, knowing that the latter would be more socially acceptable (see Masson, J. The young woman's real name was Bertha Pappenheim, and she became a patient of Breuer's after suffering a bout of what was th… Although a highly original thinker, Freud was also deeply influenced by a number of diverse factors which overlapped and interconnected with each other to shape the development of his thought. In this way, the concept of repression, which Freud himself termed the foundation stone upon which the structure of psychoanalysis rests, has come in for more widespread critical scrutiny than ever before. He was certainly philosophically literate, conversant with the thinkers of his day and directly influenced in his work by Arthur Schopenhauer and Friedrich Nietzsche. Rather, the odd behavior can be critically observed to draw out the causes explaining it, so as to treat it. Through this method he aimed to weaken the forces of the moral guide, the Super-Ego, in order to reach the cause of the disorder hidden somewhere in the Id. Freud accordingly terms this the oral stage of development. In reply, the exponents and supporters of psychoanalysis frequently analyze the motivations of their critics in terms of the very theory which those critics reject. Freud is not, strictly speaking, a philosopher, but his views on the nature of the self have had a far-reaching impact on philosophical thinking, as well as virtually every other discipline in the humanities and social sciences. If this contention is true—and it must at least be contemplated seriously—then this is undoubtedly the most serious criticism that Freud and his followers have to face. So, the question of the therapeutic effectiveness of psychoanalysis remains an open and controversial one. An even more important influence on Freud however, came from the field of physics. What he discovered, it has been suggested, was the extreme prevalence of child sexual abuse, particularly of young girls (the vast majority of hysterics are women), even in respectable nineteenth century Vienna. The answer can only be: By the standard of what we generally believe—or would like to believe—to be the case. At a less theoretical, but no less critical level, it has been alleged that Freud did make a genuine discovery which he was initially prepared to reveal to the world. Freud and Philosophy: An Essay on Interpretation is a 1965 book about Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, by the French philosopher Paul Ricœur. By Saul McLeod, updated 2018Sigmund Freud (1856 to 1939) was the founding father of psychoanalysis, a Sigmund Freud. This method proved effective as Freud observed a decrease in the symptoms of the patients. Freud’s account of the unconscious, and the psychoanalytic therapy associated with it, is best illustrated by his famous tripartite model of the structure of the mind or personality (although, as we have seen, he did not formulate this until 1923). SIGMUND FREUD (1856-1939)In 1881, he graduated University ofVienna in Medicine Faculty.The following year he worked atTheodor Meynerts Psychiatric Clinic.Studied a new promisingdrug, cocaine. Like Marx, his ideas were a product of the culture in which he lived, and were an attempt to come up with a scientific view of human behavior (in Marx's case, of the behavior of groups, in Freud's case, individuals). Turning away from his early attempts to explore the unconscious through hypnosis, Freud further developed this talking cure, acting on the assumption that the repressed conflicts were buried in the deepest recesses of the unconscious mind. At this point he decided to adopt instead a method suggested by the work of an older Viennese colleague and friend, Josef Breuer, who had discovered that when he encouraged a hysterical patient to talk uninhibitedly about the earliest occurrences of the symptoms, they sometimes gradually abated. In 1900, after a protracted period of self-analysis, he published The Interpretation of Dreams, which is generally regarded as his greatest work. Stephen P. Thornton Freud admonishes us, in the next sentence: “in making any general judgment of this sort, we are in danger of forgetting how variegated the human world and its mental life are.” Recall that like Freud’s method, the philosophy of Aristotle also begins with conventional impressions. The difficulty with Freud’s theory is that it offers us entities (for example repressed unconscious conflicts), which are said to be the unobservable causes of certain forms of behavior But there are no correspondence rules for these alleged causes—they cannot be identified except by reference to the behavior which they are said to cause (that is, the analyst does not demonstratively assert: “This is the unconscious cause, and that is its behavioral effect;” rather he asserts: “This is the behavior, therefore its unconscious cause must exist”), and this does raise serious doubts as to whether Freud’s theory offers us genuine causal explanations at all. His family moved to Vienna, Austria in 1860, where Freud lived … University of Limerick As indicated above, both Charcot and Breuer had a direct and immediate impact upon him, but some of the other factors, though no less important than these, were of a rather different nature. Sigmund Freud was one of the most influential psychologist, physiologist and philosopher of the mind belonging to the twentieth century. Kluwer, 1999. If the question is asked: “What does this theory imply which, if false, would show the whole theory to be false?,” the answer is “Nothing” because the theory is compatible with every possible state of affairs. It does not follow that, if Freud’s theory is unscientific, or even false, it cannot provide us with a basis for the beneficial treatment of neurotic illness because the relationship between a theory’s truth or falsity and its utility-value is far from being an isomorphic one. This happens at the age of five, whereupon the child enters a latency period, in which sexual motivations become much less pronounced. However, a crucial qualification has to be added here—Freud effectively redefined the term sexuality to make it cover any form of pleasure which is or can be derived from the body. What a distressing contrast there is between the radiant intelligence of the child and the feeble mentality of the average adult. He attempted relaxing the patient at first and depriving them of sensory stimulations, and then made them speak up their thoughts without any interference or censorship. From this point on Freud’s reputation and fame grew enormously, and he continued to write prolifically until his death, producing in all more than twenty volumes of theoretical works and clinical studies. And of course even a true theory might be badly applied, leading to negative consequences. Freud's principle works are The Interpretation of Dreams (1900), Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (1905), and Civilization and Its Discontents (1930). To employ a much-used analogy, it is rather structurally akin to an iceberg, the bulk of it lying below the surface, exerting a dynamic and determining influence upon the part which is amenable to direct inspection—the conscious mind. (MacIntyre). Freud, who had great admiration and respect for Brücke, quickly adopted this new dynamic physiology with enthusiasm. The philosophy of the self is a topic that both past and present philosophers have had many debates over. This has become so influential today that when people speak of psychoanalysis they frequently refer exclusively to the clinical treatment; however, the term properly designates both the clinical treatment and the theory which underlies it. Thus, instead of treating the behavior of the neurotic as being causally inexplicable—which had been the prevailing approach for centuries—Freud insisted, on the contrary, on treating it as behavior for which it is meaningful to seek an explanation by searching for causes in terms of the mental states of the individual concerned. The aim of the method may be stated simply in general terms—to re-establish a harmonious relationship between the three elements which constitute the mind by excavating and resolving unconscious repressed conflicts. The second fifty years of the nineteenth century saw monumental advances in contemporary physics, which were largely initiated by the formulation of the principle of the conservation of energy by Helmholz. Sigmund Freud, that seer of the psyche, taught that you could be angry and not know it. It was through his association with his close friend and colleague Josef Breuer that Freud became aware of a woman known in the case history as Anna O. Freud’s most important contribution to humanity in general and psychology in particular is the development of psychoanalysis, a practice devised to treat the mentally ill through dialogue. In Freud and Philosophy, Ricœur interprets Freud's work in terms of hermeneutics, the theory of the rules that govern the interpretation of a particular text, and discusses phenomenology, a school of philosophy founded by Edmund Husserl. At the age of four, his family moved to Vienna, with his father who was a wool merchant. Sigmund Freud was one of the most influential psychologist, physiologist and philosopher of the mind belonging to the twentieth century. Both the attraction for the mother and the hatred are usually repressed, and the child usually resolves the conflict of the Oedipus complex by coming to identify with the parent of the same sex. However, even this is questionable, and is a matter of much dispute. Such behavioral symptoms are highly irrational (and may even be perceived as such by the neurotic), but are completely beyond the control of the subject because they are driven by the now unconscious repressed impulse. Sigmund Freud was an Austrian neurologist best known for developing the theories and techniques of psychoanalysis. Show More. His experiences informed many of his theories, so learning more about his life and the times he lived in can lead to a deeper understanding of where his theory came from. The "discovery" of the unconscious is often mis-attributed to Freud. This analysis revealed to him that the love and admiration which he had felt for his father were mixed with very contrasting feelings of shame and hate (such a mixed attitude he termed ambivalence). Another possibility would be the conscious, rational control of formerly repressed drives—this is suppression. In fact, ideas about the … 4. Here we will confine ourselves to: (a) the evaluation of Freud’s claim that his theory is a scientific one, (b) the question of the theory’s coherence, (c) the dispute concerning what, if anything, Freud really discovered, and (d) the question of the efficacy of psychoanalysis as a treatment for neurotic illnesses. Many mental illnesses, particularly hysteria, Freud held, can be traced back to unresolved conflicts experienced at this stage, or to events which otherwise disrupt the normal pattern of infantile development. In 1885-86, Freud spent the greater part of a year in Paris, where he was deeply impressed by the work of the French neurologist Jean Charcot who was at that time using hypnotism to treat hysteria and other abnormal mental conditions. This technique, and the theory from which it is derived, was given its classical expression in Studies in Hysteria, jointly published by Freud and Breuer in 1895. For example, homosexuality is seen by some Freudians as resulting from a failure to resolve the conflicts of the Oedipus complex, particularly a failure to identify with the parent of the same sex; the obsessive concern with washing and personal hygiene which characterizes the behavior of some neurotics is seen as resulting from unresolved conflicts/repressions occurring at the anal stage. Slips of tongue and dreams can act as a doorway through which the hidden causes of his mental ailments can be recognized. On the question of what makes a theory a genuinely scientific one, Karl Popper’s criterion of demarcation, as it is called, has now gained very general acceptance: namely, that every genuine scientific theory must be testable, and therefore falsifiable, at least in principle. Thus his theory of the instincts or drives is essentially that the human being is energized or driven from birth by the desire to acquire and enhance bodily pleasure. When he returned to Vienna, Freud experimented with hypnosis but found that its beneficial effects did not last. However, the repressed instinctual drive, as an energy-form, is not and cannot be destroyed when it is repressed—it continues to exist intact in the unconscious, from where it exerts a determining force upon the conscious mind, and can give rise to the dysfunctional behavior characteristic of neuroses. Freud: A Very Short Introduction – Anthony Storr. In the James Bond song, “Die Another Day,” Madonna says, “Sigmund Freud, analyze this.” This is no surprise since Sigmund Freud is “the father of psychoanalysis.” When we think of Sigmund Freud, we think of a psychologist who analyzes people. This was greatly facilitated in 1909, when he was invited to give a course of lectures in the United States, which were to form the basis of his 1916 book Five Lectures on Psycho-Analysis. He articulated and refined the concepts of the unconscious, infantile sexuality and repression, and he proposed a tripartite account of the mind’s structure—all as part of a radically new conceptual and therapeutic frame of reference for the understanding of human psychological development and the treatment of abnormal mental conditions. Having said that, it is undeniably true that Freud gave sexual drives an importance and centrality in human life, human actions, and human behavior which was new (and to many, shocking), arguing as he does that sexual drives exist and can be discerned in children from birth (the theory of infantile sexuality), and that sexual energy (libido) is the single most important motivating force in adult life. This is the method of free-association, the rationale for which is similar to that involved in the analysis of dreams—in both cases the super-ego is to some degree disarmed, its efficiency as a screening mechanism is moderated, and material is allowed to filter through to the conscious ego which would otherwise be completely repressed. This leads to the fact that humans are not even unaware of their own thoughts and ideas. In most respects, the towering scientific figure of nineteenth century science was Charles Darwin, who had published his revolutionary Origin of Species when Freud was four years old. As one contemporary Freudian commentator explains it, Freud’s change of mind on this issue came about as follows: Questions concerning the traumas suffered by his patients seemed to reveal [to Freud] that Viennese girls were extraordinarily often seduced in very early childhood by older male relatives. This latter conception is the very cornerstone of Freud’s psychoanalytic theory. The supporters and followers of Freud (and Jung and Adler) are noted for the zeal and enthusiasm with which they espouse the doctrines of the master, to the point where many of the detractors of the movement see it as a kind of secular religion, requiring as it does an initiation process in which the aspiring psychoanalyst must himself first be analyzed. Time Angry Person. Sigmund Freud’s Theories Sigmund Freud, an Austrian psychiatrist and thinker, has developed many theories on the human subjectivity and founded the psychoanalysis method. This suggests the view that freedom of the will is, if not completely an illusion, certainly more tightly circumscribed than is commonly believed, for it follows from this that whenever we make a choice we are governed by hidden mental processes of which we are unaware and over which we have no control. It is argued that nothing of the kind is possible with respect to Freud’s theory—it is not falsifiable. The Assault on Truth). But again, it's likely that if consulted, Freud would confess to having mixed feelings about being tagged with the … Freud’s account of the sexual genesis and nature of neuroses led him naturally to develop a clinical treatment for treating such disorders. Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, was a physiologist, medical doctor, psychologist and influential thinker of the early twentieth century. Accordingly, he got his patients to relax in a position in which they were deprived of strong sensory stimulation, and even keen awareness of the presence of the analyst (hence the famous use of the couch, with the analyst virtually silent and out of sight), and then encouraged them to speak freely and uninhibitedly, preferably without forethought, in the belief that he could thereby discern the unconscious forces lying behind what was said. It is in this sense that the mind is to be understood as a dynamic energy-system. It was not until 1908, when the first International Psychoanalytical Congress was held at Salzburg that Freud’s importance began to be generally recognized. This is a crucially important issue since Freud saw himself first and foremost as a pioneering scientist, and repeatedly asserted that the significance of psychoanalysis is that it is a new science, incorporating a new scientific method of dealing with the mind and with mental illness. Doubt about the actual occurrence of these seductions was soon replaced by certainty that it was descriptions about childhood fantasy that were being offered. Freud also followed Plato in his account of the nature of mental health or psychological well-being, which he saw as the establishment of a harmonious relationship between the three elements which constitute the mind. As we have seen, when he first came to the University of Vienna, Freud worked under the direction of Ernst Brücke who in 1873-4 published his Lecture Notes on Physiology (Vorlesungen über Physiologie. Hence the significance which he attributed to slips of the tongue or pen, obsessive behavior and dreams—all these, he held, are determined by hidden causes in the person’s mind, and so they reveal in covert form what would otherwise not be known at all. Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans. Secondly, and at a more general level, account must be taken of the contemporary scientific climate in which Freud lived and worked. Psychoanalysis was my first approach to mind ... then I practised yoga meditation, I used autogenic training and, not satisfied yet, I joined Scientology for a while studying and applying their techs. This gives rise to the notion that us mortals are not completely free to act according to one’s will, and there are some mental processes running in the background which determine our deeds. This principle states, in effect, that the total amount of energy in any given physical system is always constant, that energy quanta can be changed but not annihilated, and that consequently when energy is moved from one part of the system, it must reappear in another part. On this basis, parents have been accused and repudiated, and whole families have been divided or destroyed. We do not think of a philosopher. Freud further said that the unconscious consists of the thoughts and feelings which humans have repressed over the years, usually tracing back to events taking place in the childhood. Further, this particular point has taken on an added and even more controversial significance in recent years, with the willingness of some contemporary Freudians to combine the theory of repression with an acceptance of the wide-spread social prevalence of child sexual abuse. He received his medical degree in 1881, and having become engaged to be married in 1882, he rather reluctantly took up more secure and financially rewarding work as a doctor at Vienna General Hospital. For these reasons, it was above all with the city of Vienna that Freud’s name was destined to be deeply associated for posterity, founding as he did what was to become known as the first Viennese school of psychoanalysis from which flowed psychoanalysis as a movement and all subsequent developments in this field. He concentrated initially on biology, doing research in physiology for six years under the great German scientist Ernst Brücke, who was director of the Physiology Laboratory at the University, and thereafter specializing in neurology. He did in fact offer an early seduction theory of neuroses, which met with fierce animosity, and which he quickly withdrew and replaced with the theory of the unconscious. Yet another would be the decision that it is the super-ego and the social constraints which inform it that are at fault, in which case the patient may decide in the end to satisfy the instinctual drives. The Assault on Truth). Mind philosophy has been a hobby of mine for many years and when I was a teen I read Freud's works. In 1885, Freud began to distance away from a medical approach to psychiatry. Working with Breuer, Freud formulated and developed the idea that many neuroses (phobias, hysterical paralysis and pains, some forms of paranoia, and so forth) had their origins in deeply traumatic experiences which had occurred in the patient’s past but which were now forgotten—hidden from consciousness. See also the articles on Descartes’ Mind-Body Distinction,  Higher-Order Theories of Consciousness and Introspection. There can, moreover, be no doubt but that this has been the chief attraction of the theory for most of its advocates since then—on the face of it, it has the appearance of being not just a scientific theory but an enormously strong one, with the capacity to accommodate, and explain, every possible form of human behavior. 998 Words 4 Pages. Although a highly original thinker, Freud was also deeply influenced by a number of diverse factors which overlapped and interconnected with each other to shape the development of his thought. Unsurprisingly, this in turn has given rise to a systematic backlash in which organizations of accused parents, seeing themselves as the true victims of what they term False Memory Syndrome, have denounced all such memory-claims as falsidical — the direct product of a belief in what they see as the myth of repression. Thus it is a mistake to interpret Freud as asserting that all human actions spring from motivations which are sexual in their origin, since those which derive from Thanatos are not sexually motivated—indeed, Thanatos is the irrational urge to destroy the source of all sexual energy in the annihilation of the self. The correct interpretation of the patient’s dreams, slips of tongue, free-associations, and responses to carefully selected questions leads the analyst to a point where he can locate the unconscious repressions producing the neurotic symptoms, invariably in terms of the patient’s passage through the sexual developmental process, the manner in which the conflicts implicit in this process were handled, and the libidinal content of the patient’s family relationships. The process is necessarily a difficult and protracted one, and it is therefore one of the primary tasks of the analyst to help the patient recognize, and overcome, his own natural resistances, which may exhibit themselves as hostility towards the analyst. Good Experience Matter. Sigmund Freud - Sigmund Freud - Psychoanalytic theory: Freud, still beholden to Charcot’s hypnotic method, did not grasp the full implications of Breuer’s experience until a decade later, when he developed the technique of free association. Under the persecution of the Nazis, Freud fled his home and left for London, where he died on the eve of World War 2. There is some debate as to how literally Freud intended this model to be taken (he appears to have taken it extremely literally himself), but it is important to note that what is being offered here is indeed a theoretical model rather than a description of an observable object, which functions as a frame of reference to explain the link between early childhood experience and the mature adult (normal or dysfunctional) personality. With the help of his colleague Joseph Breuer, he developed the theory of the mind as a complex energy structure. Repression is thus one of the central defense mechanisms by which the ego seeks to avoid internal conflict and pain, and to reconcile reality with the demands of both id and super-ego. Here, the fact that, unlike some of his contemporary followers, Freud did not himself ever countenance the extension of the concept of repression to cover actual child sexual abuse, and the fact that we are not necessarily forced to choose between the views that all recovered memories are either veridical or falsidical are frequently lost sight of in the extreme heat generated by this debate, perhaps understandably. In 1938 the Nazis annexed Austria, and Freud, who was Jewish, was allowed to leave for England. The evolutionary doctrine radically altered the prevailing conception of man—whereas before, man had been seen as a being different in nature from the members of the animal kingdom by virtue of his possession of an immortal soul, he was now seen as being part of the natural order, different from non-human animals only in degree of structural complexity. This lasts until puberty when mature genital development begins, and the pleasure drive refocuses around the genital area. A related (but perhaps more serious) point is that the coherence of the theory is, at the very least, questionable. The postulation of such unconscious mental states entails, of course, that the mind is not, and cannot be, either identified with consciousness, or an object of consciousness. Freud, according to them, had stumbled upon and knowingly suppressed the fact that the level of child sexual abuse in society is much higher than is generally believed or acknowledged. However, the response he encountered was so ferociously hostile that he masked his findings and offered his theory of the unconscious in its place (see Masson, J. A male child also perceives himself to be at risk. Sigmund Freud, often known as the father of psychoanalysis, is one of the most important figures in the early development of the field of psychology. Ireland, Works on Freud and Freudian Psychoanalysis. The theory upon which the use of leeches to bleed patients in eighteenth century medicine was based was quite spurious, but patients did sometimes actually benefit from the treatment! The developmental process, then, is for the child essentially a movement through a series of conflicts, the successful resolution of which is crucial to adult mental health. Our exploration of his legacy begins with a look at his life and time. It should be emphasized here that Freud’s genius is not (generally) in doubt, but the precise nature of his achievement is still the source of much debate. Freud’s innovative treatment of human actions, dreams, and indeed of cultural artifacts as invariably possessing implicit symbolic significance has proven to be extraordinarily fruitful, and has had massive implications for a wide variety of fields including psychology, anthropology, semiotics, and artistic creativity and appreciation. And so the debate goes on. 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