Civilization and Its Discontents

Freud's Civilization and its Discontents: A Pragmatic Work?

Civilization and its Discontents, is, in great part, a philosophical treatise, in which Freud tries to replace a metaphysical, idealistic framework with a psychological one. He does so by using a performative, therapeutic style of argumentation, in which he encourages the reader to analyze philosophical problems in the context of his daily life, and realize that Freud's psychoanalytic explanations fit more closely with his own experience than metaphysical constructions. By examining the problems in this way, Freud wishes to show that nothing can be learned about man by appealing to abstraction, and that this type of thinking is not only illogical, but one of the main problems with civilization, keeping men from attaining greater happiness. However, Freud also asserts that certain metaphysical constructions are necessary for men to remain happy and bound together in society. So by exposing the root of every appeal to man's higher nature, it seems that psychoanalysis is being destructiveóif people were to accept what he says, to make everything unconscious conscious, how would they deal with the problems of civilization?

Civilization and its Discontents is the most philosophical of Freud's works. He combines many of...

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