Jen199 Registered User
#1

Hi,

I wanted to get some of your thoughts on the work of Freud. I have been given an essay topic as follows: What, in your opinion, has been Freud’s most significant contribution to our understanding of ourselves and the world?

I haven't been studying his work very long but there are some many areas to consider - be it from the development of psychoanalysis to his dream analysis to the layers of consciousness i.e. id, ego etc.

What do you think?

Any ideas or advise would be welcomed.

Thanks
J

C\m\C Banned
#2

i must sincerely apologise for saying so, as its not really my subject, but in my humble opinion,
Freud seemed to be a very charismatic and somewhat charming man.

his contribution to womens psycho-analysis has been outstanding.
one may even consider him to be one of the greatest minds of our times.

certainly i would have no knowledge of his achievements, and that may mute my opinions, but my friend who
(actually done a thesis on Freud) now works with very well known pharmaceutical company, speaks highly of him.

von Neumann Registered User
#3

Hi Jen199,

I've just been given the same essay tittle.
Like yourself I'm a bit lost, I'd say where all in the same boat at the moment.

Myksyk Moderator
#4

You could always be a rebel and argue that he didn't in fact make any enduring, significant contribution. Read 'Remembering Anna O' or something like Richard Webster's 'Why Freud was Wrong' to inform your case. Perhaps the reason you're stuck in finding something is that there are no obvious remaining contributions that haven't been debunked or replaced with more incisive understandings. Go on ... be a rebel!

hotspur Registered User
#5

Myksyk said:
You could always be a rebel and argue that he didn't in fact make any enduring, significant contribution. Read 'Remembering Anna O' or something like Richard Webster's 'Why Freud was Wrong' to inform your case. Perhaps the reason you're stuck in finding something is that there are no obvious remaining contributions that haven't been debunked or replaced with more incisive understandings. Go on ... be a rebel!


Does the world really need another student who hasn't read his works yet writing a critical essay such as that. Nobody with half a brain could read his works and not be blown away by the genius of the man. His enduring influence is inestimable.

Jen, before Copernicus people thought the planets and the sun revolved around the earth, before Darwin people thought we were made in God's image, and before Freud people thought that all their thoughts, motivations, and desires were fully known to them.

Keep your essay simple if you don't know the work well. This is the man who popularised the unconscious and its effect on us. This is the man who invented the 'talking cure'. You are confusing yourself if you think something like the psychoanalytic session tool of dream analysis might be the topic instead of the phenomenon of psychotherapy itself.

How come two people have the same essay, where / what are you studying?

Odysseus Registered User
#6

Does the world really need another student who hasn't read his works yet writing a critical essay such as that. Nobody with half a brain could read his works and not be blown away by the genius of the man. His enduring influence is inestimable.

Jen, before Copernicus people thought the planets and the sun revolved around the earth, before Darwin people thought we were made in God's image, and before Freud people thought that all their thoughts, motivations, and desires were fully known to them.

Keep your essay simple if you don't know the work well. This is the man who popularised the unconscious and its effect on us. This is the man who invented the 'talking cure'. You are confusing yourself if you think something like the psychoanalytic session tool of dream analysis might be the topic instead of the phenomenon of psychotherapy itself.


Very well put. In my experience though its popular to Freud bash. Its an uncons. thing. Attack the father of your profession, very oedipal.

I don't know about Myksyk, but most of the people I have come across who attack Freud never read Freud or very little. I have one lecturer at a sexuality seminar saying Freud was anti-gay turns out she read about Freud but never read him.

Thought to be fair if its just for an essay your not going to run out and buy the standard edition.

Myksyk Moderator
#7

hotspur said:
Does the world really need another student who hasn't read his works yet writing a critical essay such as that.


Does the world really need another student who hasn't read his work but who writes an uncritical essay? Let's split the difference and advise that the student includes both points of view.

Nobody with half a brain could read his works and not be blown away by the genius of the man.


Ah yes, you're stupid if you don't think Freud's insights constituted genius.


His enduring influence is inestimable.


He did have a profound influence on western culture (positive and negative). However, this is not the theme of the essay which asks about his significant contribution into our understanding of ourselves. Here his enduring influence is definitely not inestimable - he has, at best, a fairly peripheral current influence. Even his most ardent followers would have to admit this.

Valmont Registered User
#8

hotspur said:


How come two people have the same essay, where / what are you studying?


I am almost certain it's their assignment from "introduction to Freud" in DBS. I could be wrong, but they have quite a unique program there.

von Neumann Registered User
#9

Valmont said:
I am almost certain it's their assignment from "introduction to Freud" in DBS. I could be wrong, but they have quite a unique program there.



Your spot on Valmont, It's the first essay in first year, I'd say any lecturer would be happy if it's not complete drivel.

spottedfrog Registered User
#10

I'm curious as to whether anyone posting in this thread knows anything about psychology? Freud's only significant contribution to modern psychology was his scientific approach to studying the human mind. Almost all of his propositions are now considered quite faulty and incorrect. Seriously though, Freud was not that great. Try Jung instead, if you are thinking in that era of psychology.

Valmont Registered User
#11

spottedfrog said:
I'm curious as to whether anyone posting in this thread knows anything about psychology? Freud's only significant contribution to modern psychology was his scientific approach to studying the human mind.


You wonder whether anyone here knows about psychology and then say that Freud's only contribution was his scientific approach, which is completely and absolutely wrong. Freud was not scientific in his approach and that is one of the reasons why his theories have failed to have an impact on modern psychological thought. From reading some of Freud's source material and second hand references I believe his biggest contribution was the idea of the unconscious. And Jung is no great shakes either if you ask me.

Time Magazine Registered User
#12

Oedipal conflict?

Freud's enduring legacy is one of the finest comedians the world has ever seen.

John Registered User
#13

Valmont said:
You wonder whether anyone here knows about psychology and then say that Freud's only contribution was his scientific approach, which is completely and absolutely wrong. Freud was not scientific in his approach and that is one of the reasons why his theories have failed to have an impact on modern psychological thought. From reading some of Freud's source material and second hand references I believe his biggest contribution was the idea of the unconscious. And Jung is no great shakes either if you ask me.


He wasn't scientific in the way we know today (control groups, statistics, etc.) but he approached the mind like you would an organ or an animal which was not done before.

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JuliusCaesar Moderator
#14

Poor ol' Freud derailed a lot of the scientific investigation and treatment of mental disorders for a long time.....maybe more so in the US than in Europe.

Look at some of his contemporaries and what they were doing. Allport, William James, Pavlov, Watson, Thorndike...........

Does the ego, id, superego exist? Is there any evidence of this? What about defense mechanisms? Am I neurotic just because I forget to post the letter that's in my bag? (last example is from the Psychopathology of Everday Life) Did you really have an Oedipus complex, and can you prove it? What about Thanatos (the death wish)?

Good site for Classic studies is psychology:http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/author.htm


(Mostly, a cigar is just a cigar.)

hotspur Registered User
#15

JuliusCaesar said:
Does the ego, id, superego exist?


They were metaphors which he quite clearly stated and cautioned people not to confuse the scaffolding with the structure itself.

JuliusCaesar said:
Am I neurotic just because I forget to post the letter that's in my bag?

I can't decide if that is just a facetious or asinine example you have given. Psychoanalysis has its nosology and nomenclature just like the psychiatric world has its ones e.g. DSM classifications and criteria. Freud would no sooner have diagnosed someone as neurotic based on merely that example as a modern psychiatrist or clinical psychologist would diagnose paranoid personality disorder merely on the basis of someone thinking they overheard a person saying bad things about them. At least make an effort to engage in the real material and avoid such disingenuous straw man arguments.

JuliusCaesar said:
Did you really have an Oedipus complex, and can you prove it?

I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume this was an unconsidered throwaway remark, because it is astoundingly ignorant. You can "prove" somebody is schizophrenic can you? As I said I'm assuming you would not have said that if you had thought about it, if you would then I strongly recommend some basic philosophy and philosophy of science books.

Also I would pounds to pennies that you completely misunderstand the nature of the Oedipus complex and what it really means. But I wouldn't fault you for that, to be honest it is very difficult for people from the Anglophone West to properly understand much psychoanalytic material even if they have spent the time to, say, read Freud's body of original works just because its value and nature isn't fundamentally understood within our Anglo-American analytic thinking and vernacular. If you were to study continental philosophy and existentialism then you would have an entirely new perspective and frame of reference of understanding the essence of Freud's work and especially that of Lacan who revisited and better articulated its nature.

JuliusCaesar said:
What about Thanatos (the death wish)?

If you don't understand the death drive and Lacan's later forumulation of it as jouissance then you will be sorely lacking in your understanding of people's motivations and desires. That the importance of going "beyond the pleasure principle" is still not understood in the English speaking world (not that its well understood outside of intellectual circles on the continent either, but at least it's present there) is a great shame I think. I would make Lacan essential to anyone psychology degree if it were up to me.

I really do fear that many of the current and recent graduates in psychology may not stick their heads out of MRI machines enough to understand the limits of the technology driven neuropsychology paradigm.

I am all for the scientific method (whatever that is currently accepted as meaning within the scientific community at large at any time), but dispensing with the profundity of psychoanalytic insight because its method is not the scientific method is ridiculous and ultimately an attack on its remaining place somewhat inside of psychology. It's analogous to thoroughly attacking philosophy if it were not sufficiently distanced from psychology at this stage.

I have been fortunate enough to have studied both very orthodox undergraduate and psychoanalytically orientated postgraduate psychology degrees and while I am grateful that I was first inculcated with the rigor of empirical science I am far more grateful that I have studied psychoanalytic works. They shouldn't be set against one another as a choice, nor should either be judged by the method of the other. Psychoanalysis is not science in the sense that modern psychology is. But that's okay. As I alluded to philosophy is not science either but it is utterly indispensable and necessary if one is to become capable of advanced understanding of ourselves and the world.

I better leave it at that as I'm rambling, any longer and the students could probably copy and paste it as their essay for Rik Loose / Barry O'Donnell / whomever they have the essay for at DBS (I know those two and they are truly excellent minds and teachers btw).

Please excuse any lapses I may have made into cranky expressions, it wasn't meant as insulting or an attack on the Julia, you have to understand that as a Spurs fan these are very testing times for all of us

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