Brentano's Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint and Freud's early metapsychology

Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 13:207-227 (1977)
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Brentano's Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint and Freud's early metapsychology, particularly the Project for a Scientific Psychology, show some interesting similarities. In psychological theory, both men stressed the motivated nature of thought and a conception of a "psychological reality" that is superior to "material reality." Both saw consciousness of one's own mental activity as arising retrospectively and having a calming effect on emotions. Both emphasized a process of "judgment" or "reality testing," made possible only by the presence of a strong unity of consciousness of ego. Methodologically, both agreed that the retrospective analysis of subjective experience is the principal tool of psychology. Freud eventually agreed with Brentano that psychology proceeds best when separated from physiology. They applied similar criteria to "proofs" of the unconscious, with Brentano concluding negatively, and Freud, positvely, after considering new evidence. This article considers the similarities and concludes that they suggest some sort of influence of Brentano on Freud.



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