By Alfred I. Tauber
Freud begun college meaning to examine either drugs and philosophy. yet he was once ambivalent approximately philosophy, concerning it as metaphysical, too restricted to the awake brain, and unaware of empirical wisdom. but his inner most correspondence and his writings on tradition and heritage demonstrate that he by no means forsook his unique philosophical objectives. certainly, whereas Freud remained firmly devoted to positivist beliefs, his proposal used to be permeated with different elements of German philosophy. positioned in discussion along with his highbrow contemporaries, Freud appears to be like as a reluctant thinker who did not realize his personal metaphysical commitments, thereby crippling the safeguard of his idea and misrepresenting his precise success. Recasting Freud as an encouraged humanist and reconceiving psychoanalysis as a kind of ethical inquiry, Alfred Tauber argues that Freudianism nonetheless deals a wealthy method of self-inquiry, one who reaffirms the iconic job of philosophy and lots of of the abiding moral values of Western civilization.
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Additional resources for Freud, the Reluctant Philosopher
Together their respective philosophies offer, on the one hand, a powerful rejoinder to the positivist view of unmediated empiricism and, on the other hand, a spirited defense of the human sciences that must rely on other modalities of understanding. Indeed, late-nineteenth-century neo-Kantians were principally concerned with the limits of knowledge and the purging of metaphysics from their epistemologies. In this regard they joined ranks with positivists, but unlike them, they were highly suspicious of positivism’s embrace of an uncritical empiricism and therefore more skeptical about the presumed ability to capture “the real” in any final fashion.
It is simply a fact that the truth cannot be tolerant, that it admits no compromises or limitations, that research regards every sphere of human activity as belonging to it and that it must be relentlessly critical if any other power tries to take over any part of it. (1933, 160; emphasis added) This statement fairly summarizes Freud’s philosophical commitments: truth is only scientific truth and thus intolerant of other truth claims. CHALLENGE OF PHILOSOPHY 29 Further, a latent scientism lurks here as Freud rails against those he identifies as pluralistic in their pursuit of truths derived by different methods.
9 Freud’s “physics envy” belied his scientific aspirations, for he could not overcome the insurmountable normative structure of his enterprise. Scientific theories generally fall into two camps: Some are simply descriptive with no judgments about optimal or suboptimal states. , relative to human or subjective values) and thus nonnormative. Of course, they are not value-free, but rather judged and governed by their own hierarchy of values, for example objective, universal, coherent, parsimonious, “aes- CHALLENGE OF PHILOSOPHY 33 thetically elegant,” or simple.