More significantly, Freud has given us resonant narratives that stretch culturally far beyond the point where we argue the toss over whether or not they’re “true”.
Subconscious desire, ego, death wish, anal retentive: if you’ve ever used these terms — and who hasn’t? — then you’ve referenced stories authored by Freud, stories about the human condition that have burrowed as deep into the collective unconscious (there’s another one) as anything found in Shakespeare or the Bible.
To rate these stories in terms of scientific accuracy seems like a category error, in the same way that it would seem a little off to dismiss the psychological insights of a Jane Austen or an Edith Wharton on the grounds that they’d just made it all up.
There’s a strong — and perhaps surprising — case to be made that Freud’s most fertile legacy has been a philosophical one.
Surprising, because you might expect that professional philosophers, unkindly cast as delusional psychotics, would be a bit sniffy about admitting Freud into their ranks.
But in fact Freud has been a key figure in the development of what’s been dubbed the “school of suspicion” — a line of philosophical descent that originally linked Freud with Nietzsche with Karl Marx, but has since been expanded into a broader tradition connecting such later figures as Martin Heidegger, Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault.
My question is whether we anchor on the idea of who ‘Sigmund Freud’ was or is? Is there a core truth to Freud’s work? I would argue that his thinking evolved overtime? To talk about Freud (or Marx or Derrida) is to make an assumption about who or what we are in fact talking about. This is what I touched on in , wondering whether it was useful to read Freud as a text that is continually interpreted overtime?