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Holowchak, M. (2010). Freud's Debt to Stoicism? A Critical Response to Kirsner. Psychoanal. Psychol., 27(1):74-80.

(2010). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 27(1):74-80


Freud's Debt to Stoicism? A Critical Response to Kirsner

Mark Holowchak, Ph.D.

In “Freud, Civilization, Religion, and Stoicism” Douglas Kirsner (2006a) writes of the neglect in the psychoanalytical literature of mention of “Freud's debt to stoicism”. His essay, he adds, is an attempt to “develop the idea of Freud as a stoic still further”. What does it mean to say that Freud is, at least to some degree, a S oic and that he owes a debt to them? If a debt exists, it exists because there are numerous striking similarities that show a direct or significant influence of the Stoics on Freud. In this commentary, I show that the similarities Kirsner notes are indirect and, most importantly, insignificant. Freud is not in any meaningful sense a Stoic and, thus, he owes no debt to them.

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