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Freud, Sigmund (1856–1939)

Subject Philosophy

People Freud, Sigmund

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


Austrian psychologist, the founder of psychoanalysis, born in Freiburg, Moravia, educated in Vienna, and moved to England in 1938. Freud broadened the notion of the psyche to include unconscious as well as conscious states. He held that the unconscious mind and its repressed contents have a dynamic role in determining behavior and forming neurosis. He divided the mind into the “id” (the unconscious mind), the “ego,” and the “super-ego.” His psychoanalysis gave explanatory prominence to sexual instincts and the unconscious Oedipal fantasies of early childhood, and aimed to resolve neurosis through a “talking cure” that brought repressed thoughts to consciousness. He held that phenomena such as dreams, jokes, and slips of the tongue are disguised manifestations of repressed thoughts that can lead through psychoanalysis to uncover their origins with beneficial therapeutic effect. Freud applied his theory of individual psychology to the explanation of religion, morality, politics, and human history. In spite of powerful criticism of his theory, methodology, and therapy, Freud remains a source of inspiration, especially among contemporary European philosophers. His major works include The Interpretation of Dreams (1900), Totem and Tabu (1913), Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis (1915–16), Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1919–20), The Ego and the Id (1923), The Future of ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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