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Horkheimer, M. (1948). Ernst Simmel and Freudian Philosophy. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 29:110-113.

(1948). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 29:110-113

Ernst Simmel and Freudian Philosophy

Max Horkheimer

It may sound unorthodox to speak about Simmel and Freud as philosophers. The very concept of a Freudian philosophy appears almost as a contradiction in terms. Is not psychology a science and science clearly separated from philosophy? The word philosophy seems to remind us of rationalizations of unconscious wishes, hypostatization of dreams and ideologies, the very objects unveiled by Freud's analytical research. In disregard of existing taboos, he dared look behind the cloak of lofty ideas and ideals and made it his task to trace back individual as well as social habits and attitudes to primitive biological drives. The conflict of these drives with the prevailing framework of civilization served him as the principle of explanation in order to debunk not a few of the religious and philosophical entities which people like to offer as their motives. Freud and his most congenial disciples, among whom Ernst Simmel certainly belonged, were the relentless enemies of intellectual super-structures including the metaphysical hiding places of the mind. It was his credo 'that there is no other source of knowledge of the Universe but the intellectual processing of carefully verified observation, in fact what is called Research, and that no knowledge can be obtained from revelation, intuition, or inspiration'. Does not Simmel's clear voice ring in our ears when we read how Freud quoted Heinrich Heine's persiflage of the idealistic philosopher: 'With his nightcap and his nightshirt-tappers, he botches up the loopholes in the structure of the world.

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