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What do we know about Sigmund Freud's theories? Show more Show less

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), commonly referred to as "the father of psychoanalysis" was an Austrian neurologist and is generally recognized as one of the most influential and authoritative thinkers of the twentieth century. He remains a well-recognised figure and he and his ideas are still frequently referenced in pop culture. Freud has been influential in two related but distinct ways. He simultaneously developed a theory of the human mind and human behaviour, as well as clinical techniques for attempting to help neurotics. He popularised the ideas of the unconscious, defense mechanisms, Freudian slips and dream symbolism, while also making a long-lasting impact on fields as diverse as literature, film, Marxist and feminist theories, literary criticism, philosophy and psychology.

Freud's beliefs were problematic Show more Show less

A lot of his beliefs and behaviour are considered problematic today.
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Lesbianism

Freud believed lesbianism was a product of mental illness.
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Context

The Argument

His daughter Anna was his closest intellectual and emotional companion - and a lesbian. Freud’s own theory states that lesbianism is always the fault of the father and is curable by psychoanalysis. His own beliefs that analysis is an erotic relationship and the reasons for lesbianism should have precluded him from analysing Anna. It didn’t. For six nights a week over several years, he and Anna analyzed and dissected her masturbation fantasies, and he spoke publicly about her fantasies at a conference while Anna sat beside him on stage. In her personal life, Anna enjoyed 54 years of happy monogamy with Dorothy Burlingham, heir to the Tiffany fortune.

Counter arguments

Framing

Premises

[P1] Freud believed lesbianism was a mental illness.

Rejecting the premises

Proponents

Further Reading

References

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    This page was last edited on Monday, 23 Mar 2020 at 12:59 UTC