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What do we know about Sigmund Freud's theories? Show more Show less
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Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), commonly referred to as "the father of psychoanalysis" was an Austrian neurologist and is generally recognized as one of the most influential and authoritative thinkers of the twentieth century. He remains a well-recognised figure and he and his ideas are still frequently referenced in pop culture. Freud has been influential in two related but distinct ways. He simultaneously developed a theory of the human mind and human behaviour, as well as clinical techniques for attempting to help neurotics. He popularised the ideas of the unconscious, defense mechanisms, Freudian slips and dream symbolism, while also making a long-lasting impact on fields as diverse as literature, film, Marxist and feminist theories, literary criticism, philosophy and psychology.

Interpretation has changed over time Show more Show less

Freud's beliefs are still highly influential and frequently discussed.
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Repression is to push down previous traumas on an unconscious level.
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The Argument

According to Freud, our personality develops from the interactions among the id, ego, and superego. Freud believed that these are in constant conflict and that adult personality and behaviour are rooted in the results of these internal struggles throughout childhood. Our efforts to find balance among what each of them “desires” determines how we behave and approach the world. What balance we strike in any given situation determines how we will resolve the conflict between two overarching behavioural tendencies: our biological aggressive and pleasure-seeking drives vs. our socialized internal control over those drives.[1][2] Repression occurs when an experience is so painful (such as war trauma) that it is unconsciously forced from consciousness, while suppression is a conscious effort to do the same. These thoughts and feelings—and associated memories—could not, Freud argued, be banished from the mind, but could be banished from consciousness.

Counter arguments

Despite Freud’s association with the recovery of repressed memory and subsequent child abuse allegations, Freud did not himself believe repression could cover actual child sexual abuse.


[P1] The human mind unconsciously represses past traumas.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Freud's theory of repression is not as all-encompassing as has been described.



This page was last edited on Monday, 23 Mar 2020 at 12:23 UTC


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