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Strenger, C. (2006). Freud's Forgotten Evolutionary Project. Psychoanal. Psychol., 23(2):420-429.

(2006). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 23(2):420-429

Freud's Forgotten Evolutionary Project

Carlo Strenger, Ph.D.

In the last decades psychoanalysis has tended to recast itself as a hermeneutic discipline geared at the retelling of human lives, and Freud is recast as a great writer in the humanist tradition rather than as the scientist as which he saw himself. Although this reconceptualization has good reasons, it tends to obscure the fact that Freud primarily saw himself as a theorist of human nature. One of Freud's deepest convictions was that psychopathology needs to be explained on the basis of evolutionary biology. This paper argues that this may have been one of Freud's greatest ideas. The reason it has been “repressed” by psychoanalysis is that Freud based it on Lamarckian principles. The current flourishing of evolutionary psychology and psychiatry may well turn Freud into one of the precursors of the psychology of the future.

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