Who Is Sigmund Freud?

We are warned by a proverb against serving two masters at the same time. The poor ego has it even worse: it serves three masters and does what it can to bring their claims and demands into harmony with one another... Its three tyrannical masters are the external world, the super-ego and the id.

- Sigmund Freud, New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis

Podcast of the Day

"Sigmund Freud was born 150 years ago this year. He was, of course, the father of psychoanalysis, but was he in any sense a philosopher? This week, we look at what he had to say about a philosophical question: what is civilisation and what do we need to do to keep it going?"

Listen to Prof David Tuckett discuss Freud on The Philosopher's Zone podcast

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Short Article of the Day

Sigmund Freud, that seer of the psyche, taught that you could be angry and not know it. You can also be a philosopher and not know it. And Freud was just that, an unconscious philosopher of the unconscious — one who had nary a positive word to say about philosophy. Just listen to him grouse in 1933:

Philosophy is not opposed to science, it behaves itself as if it were a science, and to a certain extent it makes use of the same methods; but it parts company with science, in that it clings to the illusion that it can produce a complete and coherent picture of the universe...

Continue reading Gordon Marino's article: Freud as Philosopher

Further Reading

Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, was a physiologist, medical doctor, psychologist and influential thinker of the early twentieth century. Working initially in close collaboration with Joseph Breuer, Freud elaborated the theory that the mind is a complex energy-system, the structural investigation of which is the proper province of psychology. 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. Notwithstanding the multiple manifestations of psychoanalysis as it exists today, it can in almost all fundamental respects be traced directly back to Freud’s original work.

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. However, Freud’s most important and frequently re-iterated claim, that with psychoanalysis he had invented a successful science of the mind, remains the subject of much critical debate and controversy...

Continue reading the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Sigmund Freud by Stephen P. Thornton

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