Was Freud a Philosopher

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Reply Sun 23 Nov, 2008 09:57 am
Regardless of his hackery (which I rate very high) Freud is often considered to be a 'philosopher'. People attribute him to a philosophical line of thinking, regardless of the fact that he never called himself a philosopher and he approached philosophy from a rather 'scientific' view. I would argue he stole much of his though from others, but this doesn't make him a non-philosopher (but actually more like one). What are your views on this? Does he belong in the canon, or is he merely some guy people either love to love or love to hate?
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Sun 23 Nov, 2008 10:22 am
@BlueChicken,
Freud was a philosopher, but he was not a very good one. He had great influence on psychology, but had he been a competent philosopher, his relevance would be far greater, and historically speaking would not be regarded as such a hack.
 
jgweed
 
Reply Sun 23 Nov, 2008 10:40 am
@BlueChicken,
It is one thing to have some philosophical ideas or positions in amongst others, in fact almost all important thinkers generally do; but then everyman is a philosopher and the Idea of philosophy fogs into meaning nothing.

From an historical perspective, the distinction between a more specialised study and doing philosophy becomes stronger as the specialisation begins to separate itself from the philosophical tradition and then achieves an independence of method and content.

But should we not distinguish between thinkers whose primary (and perhaps sole) focus is on philosophical questions and inquiry on the one hand, and those whose focus and respect lies elsewhere?
 
NeitherExtreme
 
Reply Sun 23 Nov, 2008 01:26 pm
@jgweed,
I think he was a much better philosopher than scientist, he just didn't realize it.
 
logan phil
 
Reply Sun 1 Mar, 2009 09:40 pm
@BlueChicken,
As history progresses the distinctions between concepts continually grows. When Newton invented his physics, such works were still known as natural philosophy, which was a one of the domains of philosophy. As the Age of Reason and the Enlightenment came and passed physics, and other 'natural sciences,' began to little-by-little become distinguished as separate fields until the mid 1800s when they were finally called the methodological "Sciences." In this same way, psychology was rooted in philosophy and then distinguished as a science in 1879.

However, psychology to this day still has not created the level of distinction in its terminology away from philosophy as physics and other sciences have. This is mostly in part because psychology has not created universal methodologies which have been taken up by popular culture. The physical sciences, on the otherhand, have created a successful mystique of methodologies that the popular culture believes is concrete. (However, as most philosophers know, the confidence of the physical sciences is largely illusionary at its core.)

Modern psychology still takes most of its new paradigms from the work done in philosophy. For example, cognitivism, behaviorism, functionalism, identity theory, phenomenology, and existentialism. Since the 1970s, the new fields of science, known mostly as the cognitive sciences, have arisen. These fields allowed for a bridged gap between more concrete physical sciences and traditional theoretical psychology (and its friends) by basing the majority of their research on laboratory research rather than on the field/theoretic research tradition.

With this brief conceptual history presented, I hope you will understand that Freud and many other eminent psychologists had strong ties to philosophy. Much of the distinctions of these early psychologists are attempts to create the very distinction between philosophy and psychology that I have mentioned. Therefore, it can been understood that not only that these avant-garde thinkers must have been a priori aware of the philosophy in order to draw distinctions and create their theories, but that the further back in history one goes the more interconnected these fields become.
 
nameless
 
Reply Mon 2 Mar, 2009 01:37 am
@BlueChicken,
As I see it, philosophy is (the art and science of) 'critical thought'. I'm sure that Freud engaged in it and thus qualifies as a philosopher.
 
boagie
 
Reply Mon 2 Mar, 2009 05:50 pm
@nameless,
Hi All!Smile

At Freud's eighth birthday, Thomas Mann was a chosen speaker. When the time came he spoke more of himself then of Freud, but he did say that Freud utilized the ideas of the great philosphers such as Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Hume and Kant. He said that Freud put those ideas into a clinical context, but that he himself/Mann, already knew what Freud presented in his writings because he had already read the above philosophers, thus Freud did not directly influence his own writings, not exactly a toast of respect to Freud. That said, I think he deserves respect for fathering the field of psychoanalysis, no small accomplishment, a step forward one would think for humanity, a great man, in his own right.
 
ejones4uoregon
 
Reply Mon 8 Jun, 2009 03:43 pm
@BlueChicken,
Freud was a radical, and highly creative thinker. His work was heavily informed by the likes of Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Hume and Kant, but also heavily influenced by Darwin. Whether you want to call him a philosopher, scientist, or hack does not matter to me, but those interested in the human condition, the self, or man's relationship to society, should give Freud an honest attempt. His thoughts have a huge influence on the language we use today, the way we describe ourselves, as well as the kind of experiments and theories currently being pursued in philosophy, psychology, and the arts. You may call him a hack if you are a full fledged materialist in regards to "mind" sciences, but he is also an interesting thinker when his views are applied to the arts. He also gives the atheist scientist a funny characterization of religion when he called it a "neurosis".
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sun 6 Dec, 2009 09:30 pm
@BlueChicken,
Freud created a mental model of psyche and also, if you will, an epistemology. He so focused on one aspect of philosophy, that he is not often considered a philosopher. And yet philosophy separate from psychology is absurd. Epistemology, ethics, metaphysics, etc. are all products of the human mind.

Freud created/modified a body of tropes / concepts. Which is just what philosophers do. Genre distinctions are convenient but misleading.

One should definitely consider Carl Jung's theory of archetypes, for instance, in relation to metaphysics. And in relation to the motives of philosophers in general. We are not as modern as we think we are. It's only a crust of pseudo-novel dried metaphor that inflates us so.
 
Citia
 
Reply Sun 16 May, 2010 06:33 pm
@BlueChicken,
I consider freud a philosopher because he managed to stretch our imagination to a whole new level with his theory of the unconscious, ego, id, and superego.
 
Twirlip
 
Reply Sun 16 May, 2010 07:57 pm
@BlueChicken,
I think of him as having been stimulated by philosophy, and in turn stimulating philosophy, but as being a rather bad philosopher himself.

I admire him enormously, I hardly believe a single thing he wrote, I find him maddeningly hard to get out of my mind - there's a Freud-shaped hole in me (and I shudder to think what he might have made of that statement!) - and my whole sense of who I am and who everybody else is is powerfully influenced by his ideas, however wrong-headed many of those ideas now seem to me to be.

I don't think I much like him as a person (I've read several biographies), and I think his influence has been largely dire, but he is titanically important because he opened up a field of investigation which can (and should) never again be closed.

He's an intellectual poison to which we have yet to find the antidote.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 16 May, 2010 09:15 pm
@Citia,
Citia;165082 wrote:
I consider freud a philosopher because he managed to stretch our imagination to a whole new level with his theory of the unconscious, ego, id, and superego.


Freud could be loosely called a philosopher because he sometimes discussed what might be called philosophical topics. Just he fact that people stretch our imagination (whatever that means) does not entitle them to be called philosophers. After all novelists and painters also "stretch our imagination" but they are not philosophers.

Maybe all philosophers stretch our imaginations (whatever it means "to stretch imagination") but that does not mean that all who stretch our imaginations are philosophers.

Just because all apples are fruit, that does not mean that all fruit are apples.

"Logic is logic, that's all I can say ". Oliver Wendell Holmes.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sun 16 May, 2010 10:24 pm
@Citia,
Citia;165082 wrote:
I consider freud a philosopher because he managed to stretch our imagination to a whole new level with his theory of the unconscious, ego, id, and superego.


I agree. What exactly is the difference between metaphysics and psychoanalysis if both use metaphors to represent reality? It should also be noted that Aristotle wrote a book on psychology. And then Rorty finds him worth writing about in a philosophical context.

---------- Post added 05-16-2010 at 11:26 PM ----------

Twirlip;165104 wrote:

I don't think I much like him as a person (I've read several biographies), and I think his influence has been largely dire, but he is titanically important because he opened up a field of investigation which can (and should) never again be closed.

He's an intellectual poison to which we have yet to find the antidote.


I agree that he was hugely significant. Even if some of his ideas haven't aged well, the notion of the psyche as largely unconscious was no small leap. And this traces back to Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and who knows who else?

I can't agree that he is a poison, though.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 16 May, 2010 10:34 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;165163 wrote:
I agree. What exactly is the difference between metaphysics and psychoanalysis if both use metaphors to represent reality?





What exactly is the difference between dogs and elephants if both use legs to get around on? Not, of course, that either psychoanalysis or metaphysics does use metaphors to represent reality, anyway. But that's just another small point. Don't bother with it.
 
wayne
 
Reply Sun 16 May, 2010 10:44 pm
@BlueChicken,
Freud actually did undertake study of the principles underlying conduct. Therefore, by definition, he may be considered a philosopher of degree.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 16 May, 2010 10:56 pm
@wayne,
wayne;165175 wrote:
Freud actually did undertake study of the principles underlying conduct. Therefore, by definition, he may be considered a philosopher of degree.


Not at all, since by your test all psychologists are philosophers "of a degree".
 
wayne
 
Reply Sun 16 May, 2010 10:59 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;165182 wrote:
Not at all, since by your test all psychologists are philosophers "of a degree".


What's wrong with that?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 16 May, 2010 11:04 pm
@wayne,
wayne;165183 wrote:
What's wrong with that?


Nothing, except that it is false. If you don't mind that, then fine. (I guess that all snakes are dogs, but, of course, "to a degree").
 
wayne
 
Reply Sun 16 May, 2010 11:06 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;165185 wrote:
Nothing, except that it is false. If you don't mind that, then fine. (I guess that all snakes are dogs, but, of course, "to a degree").


Cannot someone be a professional psychologist and a philosopher also?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 16 May, 2010 11:14 pm
@wayne,
wayne;165186 wrote:
Cannot someone be a professional psychologist and a philosopher also?


Well sure. What has that to do with it? The issue is whether Freud was a philosopher because of what he also did. (For all I know Freud was a great chef, but he wasn't a great chef because of his psychoanalysis). Let's keep our eyes on the ball, shall we?
 
 

 
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