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Freudian Psychoanalytic Theory

This research examines the contribution of Freudian psychoanalytic theory to the understanding of human behavior. The plan of the research will be to set forth the historical and cultural context in which Freudian theory emerged and then discuss what accounts for the range and depth of influence that it has had and that it continues to have on subsequent psychological theory and psychoanalytic practice.

Appreciation of the importance of Freudian theory to the understanding of human behavior must include awareness of the intellectual culture in which that theory emerged. Nineteenth-century Europe saw the full flowering, so to speak, of industrial capitalism and concomitant urbanization of great masses of people, as well as the triumph of bourgeois social values and modes of social organization. In his examination of the intellectual currents of modern European thought, Baumer (1977, p. 27) distinguishes between the intellectualism of the Renaissance and Reformation, which looked to classical models for "inspiration and guidance," and that of the Enlightenment and the Romanticists, which "looked more to the future and present." Baumer cites the "scientific revolution" as the decisive marker that drove the Enlightenment intelligentsia and their progeny toward modernism. The scientific method that informed Newton's late-17th-century cosmology--despite the nature mysticism of the Romantics--achieved permanent resonance with Darwin's Origin of Species, published in 1859. Mid-19th century European culture was attuned to the scientific method and systematic analysis in a variety of disciplines; Marx's Communist Manifesto was published in 1848, Capital in 1867.

When Freud was born in 1856, it was therefore a foregone conclusion that his intellectual development would have a systematic, scientific, or as it were scientistic, aspect. His explication of human psychology and behavior, set forth most comprehensively in 1899 (publication date ...

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Freudian Psychoanalytic Theory. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 23:22, May 30, 2020, from