Psychoanalysis and the Self: Sigmund Freud’s Influence in 19th Century Philosophy and Science

Nineteenth century thinking was characterized by the emergence of two
revolutionary ideologies that influenced the course of human history for
the succeeding centuries: Karl Marx’s conflict theory and Sigmund Freud’s
method of psychoanalysis in psychology.Marx’s analysis of the political
economy of the capitalist system led to the development of the Socialist
movement.Freud’s psychoanalytical theory, meanwhile, emphasized the
pursuit for self-knowledge and individuality as the key towards personal
This paper gives focus on the life of Sigmund Freud, mainly because
of his significant contribution towards establishing the kind of
contemporary society prevalent in Western societies;;;that is, an
individualist society, wherein the pursuit of self-knowledge led to social
Born in the Czech Republic in 1856, Sigmund Freud had led the life of
a true scientist and academician.Educated at Vienna University, Freud had
earlier planned to pursue a career as a lawyer, although he decided to
pursue medicine instead (also at Vienna University) in 1873.As a medical
student, he expressed interest in the study of natural sciences, undergoing
research work on human biology, particularly neurological research, and
remained for six years at the University to obtain his medical degree (the
additional three years was spent on conducting extended neurological
research work).After obtaining his medical degree, Freud practiced at the
General Hospital of Vienna.In 1885, he left his post as a doctor in the
hospital to accept work as a lecturer in Vienna University.It was in this
year that Freud went to Paris to be under Jean Charcot’s guidance in
pursuing his studies in neurology.Under Charcot, he experienced working
on nervous diseases, particularly hysteria (Microsoft Encarta 2002).
A year after he finished his studies under Charcot in Paris, Freud
began p…

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