‘Aeon’ essay by UNE Professor David Livingstone Smith shines light on Freud as a philosopher

David Livingstone Smith
David Livingstone Smith

August 11, 2017

An essay by David Livingstone Smith, Ph.D., professor of philosophy, was published on August 10 in the digital magazine Aeon, a publication about ideas, philosophy and culture.

Smith’s essay, “Freud the philosopher,” discusses the writings of Sigmund Freud, who, according to Smith, is often and inaccurately regarded as a psychologist or a psychiatrist. Smith makes the argument that Freud was, in fact, a philosopher. “It’s impossible to really understand Freudian theory without coming to grips with its philosophical undercurrents,” he writes.

Smith gives a historical context to Freud’s work and explains the most misunderstood aspects of his writings, uncovering the “rich philosophical tapestry of his thinking.”

“Whatever one might think of the particular empirical claims that Freud advanced,” says Smith, “--notions such as the Oedipus complex, the mechanisms of defense, and the theory of dreaming – there is another, relatively unrecognized, aspect of Freud’s thinking: a profoundly philosophical dimension that promises rich intellectual rewards to anyone who cares to pursue it.”

Read the essay

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