Social Evolution, Progress and Teleology in Spencer's Synthetic Philosophy and Freudian Psychoanalysis

History of the Human Sciences (forthcoming)
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This article aims to compare notions of progress and evolution in the social theories of Freud and Spencer. It argues 1) that the two authors had similarly complex theories that contained mixed elements of positivism and teleology; 2) In its positivist elements, both authors made use of unified natural laws and, in its teleological aspect, they made use of notions of final cause in that progress and the evolution of civilization was understood as a linear path of progressive development with an aim, 3) that that aim was both ethno- as well as - in Freud?s case in particular? self-centric and, finally, 4) that such understanding of natural law led to ethical commitments to the individual.



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Leonardo Niro
University College London

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References found in this work

Philosophy and the scientific image of man.Wilfrid S. Sellars - 1962 - In Robert Colodny (ed.), Science, Perception, and Reality. Humanities Press/Ridgeview. pp. 35-78.
The Interpretation of Dreams.Sigmund Freud & A. A. Brill - 1900 - Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods 10 (20):551-555.
Civilization and its discontents.Sigmund Freud - 1952/1930 - In John Martin Rich (ed.), Readings in the Philosophy of Education. Belmont, Calif., Wadsworth Pub. Co..

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