The phenomenology of Sigmund Freud


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


The convergences in approach between Freud’s psychoanalysis and Husserl’s phenomenology are elaborated. These include philosophical roots in Brentano’s teachings; the primacy of direct observation over construction and theory; a conviction about the irreducibility of mentality to nature; the project of a “pure” psychology; the bracketing of theories, preconceptions, and the natural attitude; the necessity of self-reflection and empathy; a relational theory of meaning; receptivity to human subjects as teachers; and the methodological value of fiction for scientific truth. It is argued that divergences between psychoanalytic and phenomenological theory have obscured profound agreement in the approach, subject matter, and methods of these two schools of psychology.

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