Sigmund Freud and Psychoanalysis
CGSC 1001 A – Lecture 17
• Father of psychoanalysis
• Worked as a medical doctor despite aspirations of being a scholar
• Profoundly impacted psychology, philosophy, anthropology, sociology, art,
Freud’s Revolutionary Ideas
1. Freud’s suggestion that there was a component of the mind that was unknowable
and inaccessible was unheard of at the time
Prior to the Freud we have seen, theorists believed the mind to be completely
accessible and open to us (Descartes, Wundt)
2. Everything has meaning, we often don’t know our reasons for doing things
3. Personality is developmental
Freud’s Concept of the Mind
• Conscious Mind: includes everything that we are aware of. This is the aspect
of our mental processing that we can think about or talk about rationally.
A part of this includes our memory, which is not always part of consciousness
but can be retrieved easily at any time and brought into our awareness.
• Unconscious Mind: is a reservoir of feelings, thoughts, urges, and memories
that outside of our conscious awareness. Most of the contents of the
unconscious are unacceptable or unpleasant, such as feelings of pain or
• Id: We are born with it, follows the pleasure principle
• Ego: Makes sure that the Id expresses itself in a way that is acceptable to
• Superego: Provides guidelines for making decisions, conscience
• Much of what is responsible for our unconscious can be tracked back to
childhood and our interactions with our parents
• Children place great importance on their interactions with their parents
• The extreme emotions (love to hate) lead to inappropriate emotional reactions
that end up being repressed. They end up in the unconscious.
• It is only through the “talking method” of psychoanalysis that one is able to
access the unconscious mind.
Psychoanalysis as a Science • Popper claims that psychoanalysis is a “pseudoscience” because it is