Winter 1989 • Vol. XI No. 1 Special Anniversary Feature: Excerpts from the War YearsJanuary 1, 1989 |

The Legacy of Sigmund Freud*: Philosophical

Neither difference nor a lively sense of one's limitations can down the feeling that in spite of the therapeutic value of Freud's technique of psychoanalysis, the scientific value of the doctrine by means of which he sought to account for this technique must be considered low. We should honor Freud as a philosopher; with Santayana we should recognize his power as myth-maker, and with Thomas Mann hail him as a liberator of soul-sick humanity. But the recognition we must give him as a scientist must be qualified. From his art of soul healing we can perceive already a body of theory emerging which, when it shall come to maturity, will be called scientific in the honorific sense of the word. But before that happens Freud's own speculations will have to be submitted to a radical criticism and in the process suffer thoroughgoing transformation. This is the fate of all pioneers of science, and it can not imply a disparagement of his genius. Nor is mine an eccentric view. His doctrines, in

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