Sigmund Freud
(Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )


  • The mind is divided in conscious (rational motives) and unconscious mind (reservoir of unconscious motives)
  • There is a repertory of motives that our mind, independent of our will, has created over the years, and they participate daily in determining our actions
  • Separation of motive and awareness
  • Repulsive picture of the human soul
  • Libido (sexual desires)
  • A child is a sexual being
  • Parents repress the child's sexuality
  • The child undergoes oral, anal and phallic stages before entering the latency stage
  • Boys desire sex with their mother and are afraid their father wants to castrate them
  • Girls envy the penis and are attracted to their father
  • " When a boy enters the phallic phase... he becomes his mother's lover. He wishes to possess her physically_ and he tries to seduce her by showing her the male organ... seeks to take his father's place with her_ His father now becomes a rival_ whom he would like to get rid of_ The boy's mother has understood quite well that his sexual excitation relates to herself... she threatens to take away from him the thing he is defying her with_ she delegates its execution to the boy's father, saying that she will tell him and that he will cut the penis off_"
  • A dream is only apparently meaningless: it is meaningless if interpreted from the conscious motives.
  • The dream is perfectly logical if one considers also the unconscious motives
  • Meaning of dreams are hidden and reflect memories of emotionally meaningful experience
  • "Latent content" of the subconscious yields "manifest content" of the dream
  • Dreams are fulfillment of infantile wishes
  • Dreams rely on memories and are assembled by the brain to deliver a meaning
  • Dreams are not prophecies but memories
  • Free associations are evoked during the dream
  • Mental life is originally unconscious. It becomes (potentially) conscious through perception (of the external world)
  • The ego perceives, learns and acts (consciously)
  • The super-ego is the (largely unconscious) moral conscience which originates during childhood throught conflicts with the parent figures, and which is the principal instrument of repression
  • The id is the repertory of unconscious memories (created by libido)
  • The most unconscious memory is the "death wish", the impulse to annihilate one's own existence
  • Neurosis involves a process of denial of emotionally painful memories
  • Overcoming these defenses is easier during the waking than in the hypnotic state (free associations)
  • The causes of neurosis are largely sexual
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  • Wilhelm Dilthey (1900)
  • Founder of Hermeneutics
  • Human knowledge can only be understood as involving the knower's life lived in a historically conditioned culture
  • Understanding a text implies understanding the relationship of expression to what is expressed, a "holistic" process that involves the "spirit of the age"
  • All cultural products are analogous to written texts

(Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )