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(1964). Chapter VI: Philosophy, Ethics, Law. Am. Imago, 21(1-2):113-125.

(1964). American Imago, 21(1-2):113-125

Chapter VI: Philosophy, Ethics, Law

As philosophy has a quite special relation to the other sciences, so the psychoanalytic method of consideration occupies a special position toward philosophy. The disciplines previously treated, permit the analyst to fall back upon their objects and disclose in them in the more or less phantastic, unconscious share of scarcely-to-be-denied wish material, the entrance to the understanding of the phenomena and therewith the enrichment of the fields of knowledge in question. The philosophical systems, on the contrary, meet us in the shape of material knowledge, with the claim to be judged as purely scientific and final explanations of the position of man in the outer world and in the universe.

If this separation of philosophy seems, at first, to preclude every psychoanalytic entrance, still, two other prominent peculiarities in the consideration of the philosophical system and its creators afford us an occasion for approaching the problem of philosophy and the philosopher. It must strike everyone at once that in philosophy, the personality of its creator appears in a measure that does not really exist in a science, and also, in no other field of knowledge except art. This circumstance induces us to elucidate from the standpoint of psychoanalysis the peculiar psychological structure of the philosopher, which raises him above the pure scientist and brings him nearer the type of the artist, yet still sharply differentiates him from the latter.

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