Sigmund Freud Soft Determinism

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Sigmund Freud is a well known psychologist and philosopher. He is widely known for his strange psychological reasoning and comparisons of children and sex. But for the purpose of this essay, the focus will be more on his philosophical views of determinism in his book, Psychopathology of Everyday Life. A lot of philosophers view Sigmund Freud as a hard determinist. Most, though, consider him more of a soft determinist. To fully understand his views, a few things need to be defined first. To get things going, you need to know what free will, determinism, and freedom really mean in the idea of philosophy. Free will is the apparent human ability to make choices that are not externally determined. Determinism is the belief that all events are caused by things that happened before them and that people have no real ability to make choices or control what happens. Freedom is the quality, especially of the will or the individual, of not being totally constrained or able to choose between alternative actions in identical circumstances. Freedom can be broken down into three main degrees: libertarianism, soft determinism, and hard determinism. Libertarianism is the view that freedom exists. In other words, you have a choice in everything you do-choose your own fate. A soft determinist (also known as compatibilism) is one that believes that determinism is true, but that freedom and responsibility can exist despite the truth of determinism, or you have a choice in which path you take. A hard determinist is one that believes freedom and responsibility do not exist, or in other words, you have no choice over your fate. Now that the main definitions out of the way, the course to understanding Freud can continue. Freud took a step sideways into... ... middle of paper ... ...something, or is made or driven to do something, he speaks of the Id" (Palmer 228). What Peters is saying is that Freud cannot make up his mind. Freud tries to do ego and id at the same time when it does not work. Peters believes that only one or the other can explain something at one time. A person cannot be driven by animal instinct (id) and conscious thought (ego). Peters makes a very valid point in this aspect. Freud is a very confusing man. He wants one subject matter to work out two different ways, which is a very hard thing to do. His thoughts on the unconscious being determined, while the conscious is free will makes excellent points. But Hospers and Peters interpretations debunk Freud's thoughts on how a person has a free and determined life outcome. Some may think that Freud has no idea as to what he was talking about and should just stick to psychology.

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