Freuds legacy - material in limba engleza
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Freud's theories and research methods were controversial during his life and still are so today, but few dispute his huge impact on psychologists and the academically inclined.

Most importantly, Freud popularized the "talking-cure"--an idea that a person could solve problems simply by talking over them, something that was almost unheard of in the 19th century. Even though many psychotherapists today tend to reject the specifics of Freud's theories, this basic mode of treatment comes largely from his work.

Most of Freud's specific theories--like his stages of psychosexual development--and especially his methodology, have fallen out of favor in modern experimental psychology.

Some psychotherapists, however, still follow an approximately Freudian system of treatment. Many more have modified his approach, or joined one of the schools that branched from his original theories (see Neo-Freudian). Still others reject his theories entirely, although their practice may still reflect his influence.

Psychoanalysis today maintains the same ambivalent relationship with medicine and academia that Freud experienced during his life.


While he saw himself as a scientist, he was greatly admired the philosopher. Theodor Lipps who was then the main supporter of subconscious and discussed empathy.[3] Freud's theories have had a tremendous impact on the humanities--especially on the Frankfurt school and critical theory. In addition, many philosophers have discussed his theories and their implications, in the broader context of Western thought. Freud's model of the mind is often seen as a critical challenge to the enlightenment model of rational agency, which was a key element of much modern philosophy.

• Rationality. While many enlightenment thinkers viewed rationality as both an unproblematic ideal and a defining feature of man, Freud's model of the mind drastically reduced the scope and power of reason. In Freud's view, reasoning occurs in the conscious mind--the ego--but this is only a small part of the whole. The mind also contains the hidden, irrational elements of id and superego, which lie outside of conscious control, drive behavior, and motivate conscious activities. As a result, these structures call into question humans' ability to act purely on the basis of reason, since lurking motives are also always at play. Moreover, this model of the mind makes rationality itself suspect, since it may be motivated by hidden urges or societal forces (e.g. defense mechanisms, where reasoning becomes "rationalizing").

• Transparency of Self. Another common assumption in pre-Freudian philosophy was that people have immediate and unproblematic access to themselves. Emblematic of this position is René Descartes' famous dictum, "Cogito ergo sum" ("I think, therefore I am"). For Freud, however, many central aspects of a person remain radically inaccessible to the conscious mind (without the aid of psychotherapy), which undermines the once unquestionable status of first-person knowledge.

Pop Culture

Freud has also had a remarkably powerful and lasting impact on popular culture. Many of his general psychological ideas have made their way into people's everyday thinking--for example, the idea that someone can be motivated by unconscious impulses, or the general idea that man contains a "beast" within, restrained only by the institutions of society. Some of his more specific ideas have also been popularized--"Freudian slips," "Oedipal complexes," and "anal" personality traits, for example, are frequently mentioned in non-technical discourse.

Since the early 1900s, Freud's ideas have often been represented explicitly or implicitly in a wide variety of art, literature, and film. Artistic figures famous for their Freudian overtones include: Alfred Hitchcock, Thomas Mann, and many others.[citation needed]

Critical reactions

Although Freud's theories were quite influential, they have also come under widespread criticism during his lifetime and afterward. A paper by Lydiard H. Horton, read in 1915 at a joint meeting of the American Psychological Association and the New York Academy of Sciences , called Freud's dream theory "dangerously inaccurate" and noted that "rank confabulations...appear to hold water, psychoanalytically". A. C. Grayling, writing in The Guardian in 2002, said "Philosophies that capture the imagination never wholly fade....But as to Freud's claims upon truth, the judgment of time seems to be running against him] Peter D. Kramer, said "I'm afraid [Freud] doesn't hold up very well at all. It almost feels like a personal betrayal to say that. But every particular is wrong: the universality of the Oedipus complex, penis envy, infantile sexuality." A 2006 article in Newsweek magazine called him "history's most debunked doctor

Some critics, rather than attacking the body of Freud's work, have delved into individual topics. For instance, Juliet Mitchell, has suggested that Freud's basic claim - that many of our conscious thoughts and actions are driven by unconscious desires and fears - should be rejected because it implicitly challenges the possibility of making universal and objective claims about the world. Some proponents of science conclude that this invalidates Freudian theory as a means of interpreting and explaining human behavior.

Another frequently criticized aspect of Freud's theories is his model of psychosexual development. Some have attacked Freud's claim that infants are sexual beings, and, implicitly, Freud's expanded notion of sexuality. Others have accepted Freud's expanded notion of sexuality, but have argued that this pattern of development is not universal, nor necessary for the development of a healthy adult. Instead, they have emphasized the social and environmental sources of patterns of development. Moreover, they call attention to social dynamics Freud de-emphasized or ignored, such as class relations. This branch of Freudian critique owes a great deal to the work of Herbert Marcuse.

Freud has also come under fire from many feminist critics. Freud was an early champion of both sexual freedom and education for women (Freud, "Civilized Sexual Morality and Modern Nervousness"). Some feminists, however, have argued that at worst his views of women's sexual development set the progress of women in Western culture back decades, and that at best they lent themselves to the ideology of female inferiority. Believing as he did that women are a kind of mutilated male, who must learn to accept their "deformity" (the "lack" of a penis) and submit to some imagined biological imperative, he contributed to the vocabulary of misogyny. Terms such as "penis envy" and "castrating" (both used to describe women who attempted to excel in any field outside the home) contributed to discouraging women from obtaining education or entering any field dominated by men, until the 1970s. Some of Freud's most criticized statements appear in his ‘Fragment of Analysis' on Ida Bauer such as "This was surely just the situation to call up distinct feelings of sexual excitement in a girl of fourteen" in reference to Dora being kissed by a ‘young man of prepossessing appearance' (S.E. 7. pp28) implying the passivity of female sexuality and his statement "I should without question consider a person hysterical in whom an occasion for sexual excitement elicited feelings that were preponderantly or exclusively unpleasurable" (ibid)

On the other hand, feminist theorists such as Juliet Mitchell, Nancy Chodorow, Jessica Benjamin, Jane Gallop, and Jane Flax have argued that psychoanalytic theory is essentially related to the feminist project and must, like other theoretical traditions, be adapted by women to free it from vestiges of sexism. Freud's views are still being questioned by people concerned about women's equality. Another feminist who finds potential use of Freud's theories in the feminist movement is Shulamith Firestone. In "Freudianism: The Misguided Feminism", she discusses how Freudianism is essentially completely accurate, with the exception of one crucial detail: everywhere that Freud writes "penis", the word should be replaced with "power".

Dr. J. Von Schneidt speculated (with little evidence) that most of Freud's psychoanalytical theory was a byproduct of his cocaine use. Cocaine enhances dopaminergic neurotransmission increasing sexual interest and obsessive thinking. Chronic cocaine use can produce unusual thinking patterns due to the depletion of dopamine levels in the prefrontal cortex.

Finally, Freud's theories are often criticized for not being real science. This objection was raised most famously by Karl Popper, who claimed that all proper scientific theories must be potentially falsifiable. Popper argued that no experiment or observation could ever falsify Freud's theories of psychology (e.g. someone who denies having an Oedipal complex is interpreted as repressing it), and thus they could not be considered scientific.


Sigismund Schlomo Freud was born into a Jewish family in Příbor (Freiberg in German), Moravia, in the Austrian Empire (now belonging to the Czech Republic). He had his name after three Polish kings Zygmunts (Sigismunds): Zygmunt Stary, Zygmunt August and Zygmunt III Vasa. That was an old family tradition after the Freuds were living in Poland at the years of Zygmunt kings (XVI and XVII). In 1877, at the age of 21, he abbreviated his given name to "Sigmund." Although he was the first-born of three brothers and five sisters among his mother's children, Sigmund had older half-brothers from his father's previous marriage. His family had limited finances and lived in a crowded apartment, but his parents made every effort to foster his intellect (often favoring Sigmund over his siblings), which was apparent from an early age. Sigmund was ranked first in his class in six years at the "Gymnasium", his grammar school. (Isbister, pg. 20.) He went on to attend the University of Vienna at 17, from 1873 to 1881.

Little is known of Freud's early life, as he destroyed his personal papers at least twice, once in 1885 and again in 1907. Additionally, portions of his personal correspondence and unpublished papers were closely guarded in the Sigmund Freud Archives at the Library of Congress and for many years were made available only to a few members of the inner circle of psychoanalysis. Most of these previously restricted documents have now been declassified and are available to researchers who visit the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.

In 1886, Freud returned to Vienna and, after opening a private practice specializing in nervous and brain disorders, he married Martha Bernays. He experimented with hypnotism with his most hysteric and neurotic patients, but he eventually gave up the practice. (One theory is that he did so because he was not very good at it.) He switched to putting his patients on a couch and encouraging them to say whatever came into their minds (a practice termed free association).

In his 40s, Freud "had numerous psychosomatic disorders as well as exaggerated fears of dying and other phobias" (Corey, 2001, p. 67). During this time, Freud was involved in the task of exploring his own dreams, memories and the dynamics of his personality development. During this self-analysis, he came to realize the hostility he felt towards his father (Jacob Freud) and "he also recalled his childhood sexual feelings for his mother (Amalia Freud), who was attractive, warm, and protective" (Corey, 2001, p. 67). Corey (2001) considers this time of emotional difficulty to be the most creative time in Freud's life.

After publishing successful books on the unconscious mind in 1900 and 1901, Freud was appointed to a professorship at the University of Vienna, where he began to develop a loyal following.

Group photo 1909 in front of Clark University. Front row from left: Sigmund Freud, Granville Stanley Hall, Carl Jung. Back row from left: Abraham A. Brill, Ernest Jones, Sandor Ferenczi.

Freud had little tolerance for colleagues who diverged from his psychoanalytic doctrines. He attempted to expel those who disagreed with the movement or even refused to accept certain central aspects of his theory (Corey, 2001): the most notable examples are Carl Jung and Alfred Adler. While Freud wrote a stinging attack on both of them in a piece called "On the History of the Psycho-Analytic Movement," he ostracized the dissidents Otto Gross and Wilhelm Reich by complete silence.

In 1930, Freud was awarded the Goethe Prize by the city of Frankfurt, in recognition of his exceptional qualities as a writer in the German language. His mother died the same year, at the age of ninety-five. In 1933, as Hitler and the Nazis seized power in Germany, Freud's books were burnt publicly by the SA.

Memorial plaque of Sigmund Freud at his birthplace in Příbor, Czech Republic.

Following the Nazi German Anschluss, Freud fled Austria with his family with the financial help of his patient and friend Princess Marie Bonaparte. On June 4, 1938, they were allowed across the border into France and then they traveled from Paris to Hampstead, London, England, where they lived at 20 Maresfield Gardens (now the Freud Museum). As he was leaving Germany, Gestapo forced him to sign a statement that he had been treated respectfully. Freud wrote sarcastically, "I warmly recommend the Gestapo to everyone."

In England, in 1938, Freud's longing to be embraced by society as an important scientist was partly realized when two secretaries of the Royal Society brought the book of the Society for Freud to sign. Freud wrote to his friend Arnold Zweig: "They left a facsimile of the book with me and if you were here I could should show you the signatures from I. Newton to Charles Darwin. Good company!"

Freud began smoking at age 24, and smoked cigars for most of his life. When his colleague Wilhelm Fliess, a nose and throat specialist, suggested that he quit in order to clear up some nasal catarrhs, Freud was unwilling to do so. (Gay, 1988, p.169) Even after having his jaw removed due to malignancy, he continued to smoke until his death on September 23, 1939. After contracting cancer of the mouth in 1923 at the age of 67, he underwent over 30 operations to treat the disease, and for several years wore a painful prosthesis to seal off his mouth from his nasal cavity. In the end, Freud could no longer tolerate the pain associated with his cancer. He requested that his personal physician visit him at his London home for the purpose of helping him end his own life. Freud's death was by a physician-assisted morphine overdose.
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