Most modern psychology developed along the lines of John Locke's view that the source of human knowledge was through experience. Locke believed that all information about the physical world comes through the senses and that all correct ideas can be traced to the sensory information on which they are based. However, some European psychologists remained loyal to Descartes' ideas that some mental organisation is innate and this concept still plays a role in theories of perception and cognition.

Complimentary to this philosophical background, psychology also received contributions from physiology. German physiologist Johannes Müller tried to relate sensory experience both to events in the nervous system and to events in the organism's physical environment. The first psychologists, Fechner and Wundt, introduced experimental methods for measuring sensations in terms of physical magnitude of the stimuli producing them, and in 1879 Wundt founded the first laboratory of experimental psychology. So, it was from this scientific climate that Freud developed his theories of psychoanalysis and dream interpretation, calling attention to the instinctual drives and unconscious motivational processes that determine people's behaviour.

Behind all of Freud's work, however, was his belief in the universal law of determinism. In terms of physical phenomena this may have been derived from his experience in Brucke's laboratory, i.e. the school of Helmholtz. But in extending this into the field of mental phenomena he may have been influenced by his teacher, the psychiatrist Meynert and maybe the philosopher Herbart.

Whilst it seems that Freud completed his first draft of this book in 1934, on completing it in 1939, he himself acknowledges the problems of the time. On the one hand there were fears of the reactions to his publication by the Roman Catholic hierarchy who were at that time dominant in the Austrian government, and on the other he was witnessing the role of religion, from its removal from the lives of Russians and Italians. It should also be noted that anti-Semitic feeling was growing in Austria (and more importantly Germany) throughout this decade, so Freud had added external anxieties and pressures whilst writing until he reached London in spring of 1938.

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.