Defending Freud (side A) | Why Theory
Freud was a cocaine addict
Freud did try cocaine at one point, and thought it had a potential as a cure for certain things, but also most medical professionals thought this. Also who cares? (I definitely agree with the latter point as well)
This claim is also related to the “elitism” claim.
Freud was an elitist
Freud indeed did make his money off of doing analysis, but “elitist” seems like a claim that isn’t unique to Freud.
Freud was Jewish and this claim could also be interpreted as antisemitic.
This claim also comes from Freud’s work Why War?.
Freud didn’t think psychoanalysis had anything to offer to poor people, and this was also an attitude of the time.
The hosts also make the point that this point as well as others against Freud are an attempt to “deplatform” him and that this doesn’t create new knowledge but instead gives into a sort of self-serving gratification.
Freud is non-scientific
Freud doesn’t personally do much to refute this, as he says that psychoanalysis aspires to be a science. Both Freud and Jacques Lacan tried to use existing science to make psychoanalysis more legitimate. The hosts believe that this approach is futile because it puts the burden of legitimacy on the target science.
Freud only published failures of case studies, which a lot of science does not do. Science is always failing, and this seems actually scientific.
The hosts believe that Freud does not go far enough often.
Freud didn’t believe that the solution to someone’s problems was simply knowledge.
Science is founded on the repression of subjectivity.
The social sciences invite subjectivity into their research, which is why social sciences tend to be seen as unscientific.
Freud is a pervert
Freud apparently stopped having sex after the birth of his final child.
Freud talks about things related to sex that largely no one wants to discuss, such as infant sexuality.
Personally I would think that you could talk about sex in a way that doesn’t make you a “pervert”, but our sex-fearing society will always deploy that label against anyone doing any worthwhile research into sex.
Freud is a charlatan
(they don’t refute this one directly)
Life advice from the hosts: you should make an honest attempt to understand your opponent’s work and if you can’t understand it you should at least be up front about that fact.
An aside by the hosts: the Sokal affair doesn’t disprove theory or postmodernism, and it does highlight a hostility to a “big Other”. Also, by undermining “certainty” it creates a lack of legitimacy.
The purpose of theory, as the hosts put it, is to put forward a speculative idea that may be proven wrong.
The hosts mention that even if you knew how consciousness was formed it wouldn’t tell you anything about consciousness itself. It’s like film theory in that someone can tell you how a projector works but it doesn’t tell you anything about the nature of film beyond some technical elements.
- Open document (Hedgedoc) at https://doc.anagora.org/20210421110629-defending_freud_side_a_why_theory
- Video call (Jitsi) at https://meet.jit.si/20210421110629-defending_freud_side_a_why_theory