Friday, May 5, 2017

Volume 23.1

A Philosophical Review
Volume 23 • Number 1
Ó May, 2017

Avery S. Finnivan
Intention and Consequence: Reply to Petruzella                                                   
Devin Snell
A Literature of the Real                                                                                                                                                               
Katherine Duval
The Emotional Power of Fiction                                                                           

Jonathan Hoel
The Poetics of Exegesis                                                                                         

Brett Belcastro
Persuasion and Coercion: Crito and the Social Contract                                    

Matthew J. Luz
Does Anatomy Determine Autonomy?
The Psychoanalytic Construction of Gender                                                        


Intention and Consequence
Reply to Petruzella
Avery S. Finnivan
Actions draw moral significance from context. Moral obligations thus include action and reasonable assumption of consequence. This renders consciously ‘gaming the system’ impossible and upholds the ought-implies-can principle.

A single action, independent of context, lacks moral significance. Moving one’s fist forward is amoral. Moving one’s fist forward to block someone from stepping in front of an oncoming train is morally commendable; moving one’s fist forward into a friend’s solar plexus is morally wrong. Each action is infinitely separable into smaller actions. A ‘morally significant action’ is thus a group of actions bound together by the chains of plausible causality. If one intentionally drops a vial of smallpox off the Empire State Building, that action differs inherently from similarly dropping a water-filled vial, because one’s knowledge of the contents and reasonable prediction of the results grant it moral significance.

The pilot in Gerol Petruzella’s scenario commits a grave moral wrong, but not the wrong of crashing the plane. His immoral action is consuming alcohol in the knowledge that doing so compromises his ability to fly. His original obligation was not merely to fly the plane safely, but to take actions ensuring his continued ability to do so. Once inebriated, he possessed no further obligation to fly safety, but did not game the system or lessen his moral responsibility – he had already failed his obligation by drinking alcohol in the cockpit.

This conception of moral obligation might ring false to some, for by replacing consequence with reasonable assumption of consequence, the scale of good or evil resulting from an action no longer affects a moral agent’s blameworthiness. Had the pilot managed to land safety despite his inebriation, could one justly claim he had committed a moral wrong? After all, no one died or sustained injury; it all worked out for the best.

In response, I argue that not only is the pilot just as morally reprehensible if he lands safely, but that this seemingly unintuitive conclusion reinforces my thesis. Great harm often results from so-called ‘natural evils’ - forces and incidents unrelated to moral agents’ actions. Since actions exist in the world, consequences of morally relevant actions intermingle with consequences of natural forces, muddying any clear path from action to result. This confusion necessitates a focus on intention, not result, as the locus for moral obligation. If a waiter directs someone to sit in a chair which later serves as the crash site for a falling chandelier, surely we would not hold the waiter morally responsible for placing the unfortunate victim in that ill-fated seat.

In the absence of a coherent moral system tying responsibility to results, intention stands as the only reasonable anchor for obligation. One cannot consciously game this system, since intention exists in the very place where such a deception must occur – the mind. With intention as a bridge between action and consequence, the ought-implies-can principle remains intact.


Petruzella, Gerol. “Must Ought Imply Can? A Response to Vranas.” Thesis XII: A Philosophical Review Volume 22                  Number 1 (2016). Print.
Vranas, Peter B.M. “I Ought, Therefore I Can.” Philosophical Studies 136.2 (2007): 167-216. Web.
Avery S. Finnivan is an MCLA Alumnus

A Literature of the Real
Devin Snell
Emotion in literature is a genuine and communicated experience. The two joint necessities of emotion in literature indemnify it against idle fantasy. Emotional states, permissible as having precedented cause within lived experience, are an indirect impression derived from a combination of competing factors. Just as language requires semiotic participation between signifier and signified (1), fictional works are matrices of participatory transmission (2). The superstructure of attending to a work of literature carries within it textual convention (and with those conventions come interpretive implicatures) (3).

When implicated behaviors involve belief or emotion, it is natural to ask from whence these experiences came. Readers and philosophers alike distrust unauthorized beliefs, and are together baffled by contradictory culprits for emotive response. Kendall Walton writes: “to construe this involvement as consisting of our having psychological attitudes toward fictional entities is to tolerate mystery and court confusion”, as it leads to the attribution of reality to fictional entities (4). For however irrational it would be to attribute qualities to something which does not exist, it would be even more irrational to give it agency from beyond reality.

Fiction itself exists. Works of fiction are objects in themselves, in whatever form they take, but they are also directions outward to manufactured ideas. Ideation is a concrete indicator of the internal faculties, and its import remains interactive with external input. The import of fictional ideas is not that they are claims referring to literal instantiations of places and people. Instead, these ideas are an attunement with the author’s intended make-believe: to harbor a particular experience of ideation for the purpose of other communicated values.

These values can stir us to action or emotion in as genuine a way as the loss of a possession or the threat of unpleasant sensation. We attribute causal authority and reality to the effect fictionalizing has on us, as well as to the methods we use in sharing that effect. The intention of authors operates alongside the intentionality of artists: to provide readers with a transformative exposure to text. The metaphysics of fictional works remains stable, even as the linguistic battlegrounds of meaning and value rage on (5).

Fiction is not a collection of unreal objects, but rather a constructed participant in real correspondence. Like other symbol systems, body language and facial expressions being two, fictive literature is a network of metaphors. There is no contradiction in being moved by figures of speech. Neither is there a contradiction to being moved by fiction.


1. The work of a sign is to relate meaning. Words bear out the burden of being connected to concepts and contexts, and by doing so acquiring greater meaning. Individualized elements, such as the construction of an imagined character with consistent traits, play a similar role in a work of fiction. Ferdinand Mongin de Saussure’s theory of signs is one attempt to understand the acquisition of both denotative and connotative value within language, and so some of his terminology has become proximal to the landscape of critical analysis. Watts, Cedric, and Ferdinand De Saussure. “Bottom’s Children”. Reconstructing Literature. Ed. Laurence Lerner. Oxford: Blackwell, 1985. 25-35. Print.

2. Some thinkers have acknowledged the volatile or impermanent nature of these participations. Jacques Derrida, as a prominent example of such a thinker, argued that self-reflexivity was necessary to maintain the “sign” as a discrete unit. Semiological or otherwise, the complications of symbol-participation cannot dissuade us from believing in the genuine quality of such a participation. As such, these complications are less relevant to determining the possibility of genuine human emotions when presented with interpreted writings. Silverman, Hugh J. “Jacques Derrida”. Postmodernism: The Key Figures. Ed. Hannes Bertens and Joseph Natoli. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2009. 110-119. Print.

3. Implicatures here being close to Paul Grice’s analysis of connotation, isolated semantic meaning, and the ubiquitous qualities of utterance-intentionality. Davis, Wayne, and Paul Grice. "Implicature." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Stanford University, 06 May 2005. Web.

4. Views such as Walton’s deserve attention. The problems inherent in objectifying characters or fictional settings destroy our ability to talk literally about their presence in the world as such. Fiction is a metaphorical medium, but it requires us to suspend our awareness of metaphor while pursuing it. In order to achieve any clarity of meaning, philosophical utterances must be careful to announce at what level they are evaluating texts. To engage with the denotative formal elements of a claim, it must in part become isolated from its expressive contexts. John, Eileen, and Dominic Mciver Lopes, eds. Philosophy of Literature: Contemporary and Classic Readings. Malden, MA : Blackwell Publishing, 2004. Print.

5. Theorists differ on the types of concepts which arise from interpretation, and they differ also on the locus of value that is being interpreted. As Lesley D. Harman noticed, ideas which are similarly influential are not similarly compatible. George Herbert Mead, Charles Peirce, Saussure, Roland Barthes, and Jean Baudrillard have all contributed to linguistic understanding under the shadow of incompatible models. Harman, Lesley D. “Sign, Symbol, and Metalanguage: Against the Integration of Semiotics and Symbolic Interactionism.” Symbolic Interaction, vol. 9, no. 1, 1986, pp. 147–160.,

Devin Snell is a student at MCLA

The Emotional Power of Fiction
Katherine Duval
It is undeniable that people feel strong attachments to fictional works. Often, people refer to themselves as being moved by a work, or devastated for the tragedy a particular character experiences. However, Colin Radford has problematized the simple colloquialism of being “moved by fiction” by introducing a paradox stating that people can only be moved by real things, and since fictions are not real, people cannot be genuinely moved by them. Therefore, when Raskolnikov from Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment kills the pawnbroker and her half-sister, we are not genuinely moved by the two deaths, nor the position that led Raskolnikov to commit the murder, nor his subsequent psychological torment. We are merely pretending, or, as Walton says, having a quasi-emotional reaction.

However, the paradox becomes obsolete if the idea that fictions do not exist can be called into question. If Raskolnikov exists, it is completely reasonable to have such intense emotional reactions to his actions. I take the position of thought-theorists, arguing that Raskolnikov, and all fictional characters, do exist, in the sense that thoughts exist. To say that a thought does not exist, and cannot emotionally move someone, can be quickly proven false. An adult who, as a child, was afraid of the dark may realize through maturity that there are no monsters lurking, but the idea of them still causes nervousness and forces the adult to turn on the lights. Or, for example, I have a terrible habit of imagining deeply disturbing things happening in my personal life while in the shower. Often, I am brought to tears by vivid imaginings of my mother dying in a car accident. Is this just a dramatic reaction to a fictional mental story I have created, or is at an actual emotional reaction to the image in my mind of my mother’s death? Some will claim that reaction may be genuine, but that the reaction is caused by the possibility of my thoughts occurring, and not the thoughts themselves. However, the adult who is still anxious in the dark does not rationally believe a monster will be waiting in the shadows to attack, and when I think about the very real fact—not possibility—that my mother will one day die, I am greatly saddened, but not moved in such an intense way as when I imagine how her death may occur.

Thoughts are entities. Though not tangible, they can inspire genuine emotional reactions. Moreover, because thoughts exist internally, and can provide emotional and intellectual insight without needing to be actualized, there is arguably more freedom in the degree to which people can react to them. Were you to hear of the murder of a pawnbroker in your own neighborhood (potentially, the pawnbroker was someone you saw at the grocery store, or whose child was in the same class as yours) the immediate and understandable emotional reaction would be to want justice for the murder. Few would feel compelled to empathize with the murderer, or attempt to understand his psychology. To do so would feel morose, and perhaps a betrayal of the murdered pawnbroker. However, when we read Crime and Punishment, we are able to try to understand the psychology of a murderer. Because the pawnbroker exists as a thought contained in the world of the story, we do not have the messy moral dilemmas that could potentially limit certain emotional reactions and insights as when the pawnbroker was a neighbor. Nuance is revealed as much as it ever is in fictional works, and I believe there is more of an opportunity to understand fictional characters as they are than it is to understand actual people, who so often remain enigmas for a multitude of reasons. We are able to confront fictional characters and events on all levels, knowing that their existence as thoughts is what allows for this sort of empathetic experimentation.

Moreover, Susan Feagin argues in her essay “The Pleasures of Tragedy” that fictional works dealing with subject matters often described as “tragedy” remind us of our morality (188). By being appropriately horrified, saddened, or angered by a fictional work, we are confirming the morality of our society and ourselves. Therefore, the emotional reactions must be genuine, or we could not conversely say that we are genuinely moral, and that is why we are responding in such a way. To someone who abhors the murder – as many of us would claim to be –  the concept of murder must be as disturbing as a murder, for the existence of murder is present in both the thought and the act. Therefore, Raskolnikov’s murder of the pawnbroker makes us realize that we ourselves are not murderers, and could not have the capacity to be such, because of our real emotional response to his actions.

Note to Readers

Thesis XII: A Philosophical Review is published biannually as an open forum promoting respectful philosophical exchanges among students, faculty, alumni, and the public.  Submissions reflect a diversity of disciplinary perspectives, philosophical approaches, and topics.  Those new to the discipline are especially encouraged to participate.

Address all correspondence to:

Dr. David K. Braden-Johnson, Editor
Thesis XII: A Philosophical Review
Department of Philosophy, IDS, and Modern Languages
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
North Adams, Massachusetts 01247 

Associate Editor: Dr. Matthew R. Silliman

Fictions exist as much as anything else in the medium of thought, and thoughts can quite clearly move us emotionally in a genuine way. Radford’s paradox dissolves when fictions are understood to be real entities, arguably with more ability to make us question and investigate our emotions and morality than objects in the tangible world.

Works Cited

Feagin, Susan. The Pleasures of Tragedy. Philosophy of  Literature: Contemporary and Classic Readins: An Anthology. Ed. Eileen John and Dominic McIver Lopes.  Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2006. 185-93. Print.

Radford, Colin. How Can We Be Moved by the Fate of Anna Karenina? Philosophy of Literature: Contemporary and Classic Readings; An Anthology. Ed. Eileen John and Dominic McIver Lopes. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2006. 170-76. Print.

Walton, Kendall. Fearing Fictionally. Philosophy of  Literature: Contemporary and Classic Readings; An Anthology. Ed. Eileen John and Dominic McIver Lopes. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2006. 177-84. Print.

Katherine Duval is a student at MCLA

On the Poetics of Exegesis
Jonathan Hoel
The hermeneutics of literature begins with scripture, before its eventual expansion to include much of the western canon and, in the later 20th century, all literary form. In his seminal essay The Death of the Author, Roland Barthes insists that we separate art from artist, in order to move discourse further, implying that the destination of the text cannot be autonomous and must be ahistorical:

"The absence of the Author is not only a historical fact or an act of writing: it utterly transforms the modern text (or -- what is the same thing -- the text henceforth written and read so that in it, on every level, the Author absents himself). Time, first of all, is no longer the same. The Author, when we believe in him, is always conceived as the past of his own book: the book and the author take their places of their  own accord on the same line, cast as a before and an after: the Author is supposed to feed the book -- that is, he pre-exists it, thinks, suffers, lives for it; …every text is eternally written here and now." (Barthes, 3).
I agree with Barthes’ assertion: all too often in literary analysis we become transfixed dissecting the somewhat extraneous biography of the author, in order to come to some deeper understanding of a complex text. In this mode, we believe understanding Marcel Proust or Fyodor Dostoyevsky may help us come to a deeper understanding of Marcel, the narrator of In Search of Lost Time, or Raskolnikov, the protagonist of Crime and Punishment. But if we put aside context, labeling it as a potential artifice, and then bring Barthes into conversation with Gaston Bachelard (who in his last significant work, The Poetics of Reverie writes critically of the wedding of phenomenology and poetics.), we emerge with a new meta-interpretation. This new interpretation is light-years away from the earlier, broader definitions of philosophers like Wilhelm Dilthey, who widened discourse on hermeneutics by expanding it to try to account for objective experience and expression.

The interpretive paths available are now infinite: this is where the poetic quality shifts from the literature, the text itself, to the act of interpretation. Tone and style become as essential as reference or analysis. Interpretations of contemporary literary works by a variety of writers ranging from Harold Bloom to Jean Baudrillard can be as interesting, if not more so, than the actual texts that they write about. These impassioned, brilliant analysts weave new visions of their disembodied sources, improving, and layering the ongoing discourse for any philosophical text deemed worthy of such poetic interpretation. Less enthusiastic interpretive work can feel marginal and parenthetical – more of a meager summation than a meticulous elucidation. More traditional byline and autobiographical interpretations are operating on a shoestring in comparison to the boundless possibilities offered by the belief attributions of interpretative indeterminacy. Literary indeterminacy -- like heteroglossia within a text -- fosters limitless plurality of interpretation.


Barthes, Roland. Image, Music, Text. Trans. Stephen Heath. New York: Hill and Wang, 1978. Print.

Jonathan Hoel is a student at MCLA

Persuasion and Coercion
Crito and the Social Contract
Brett Belcastro
Throughout the Platonic dialogues, Socrates maintains that education is best when it directs the student towards persuasion by the best argument. In the Crito, Socrates employs this principle in deciding whether or not to escape the Athenian state which has imprisoned him and sentenced him to death, judging his actions by the arguments which support them. On the strength of the disjunctive premise that he must either persuade the state or submit to its judgment, Socrates concludes that he has failed in persuasion and must therefore submit to the sentence of death. Socrates does succeed in persuading Crito that his passivity is the best possible course of action, but here I will1 attempt to reveal how Socrates' argument fails by any realistic standard of the individual's relationship to the state. Socratic pacifism is not a tenable position today, nor was it tenable when Plato wrote the Crito.

This argument begins when Socrates forces Crito to admit that “one must never do wrong,” even in return for wrongdoing (49b). From this assertion, it follows that one must not inflict injury on anyone (49c-d), as doing so would constitute an instance of wrongdoing. Socrates adds to these premises that one must act to fulfill one's agreements with others concerning what is just (49e). Reasoning that he stands to inflict harm upon the system of Athenian justice by undermining its authority (50b), and insofar as he must fulfill the agreement he has made with Athens concerning justice, Socrates concludes that it would be both harmful and unjust to himself and to Athens to flee the prison.

That one must never do wrong, and that one must honor agreements concerning justice, both seem to be fairly innocuous premises. But the manner in which Socrates applies these principles to Athens itself leaves the most room for error. At 50a he clearly identifies those who would suffer if he were to undermine the authority of the Athenian courts: those who benefit from its attempts to administer justice through law. Speaking for the city, Socrates asks “do you think it possible for a city not to be destroyed if the verdicts of its courts have no force but are private individuals?” (50b) Crito eagerly points out that the verdict of the court, in Socrates' case, was egregiously unjust, to which Socrates replies (in the voice of the city): “Was that the agreement between us...or was it to respect the judgments that the city came to?” (50c). Socrates goes on to indicate that the system of justice easily left room for him to leave if he did not agree with its precepts (51d), that it was his own fault that he set the penalty so harshly (52c-d), and that, before finally submitting to the city's demands, the city does grant him the opportunity to persuade it as to the true nature of justice (51b).

On the strength of the agreement between citizen and state it appears that Socrates follows a correct line of reasoning straight from his original principles to the doleful conclusion of his sentence. But the strength of this agreement remains in question. What is it that justifies the existence of a basic social contract between Socrates and Athens?

There appear to be two basic considerations. The first is in the administration of justice: in the agreement which Socrates refers to at 50c, individuals treat the state as a kind of market that levels the field between various parties who would otherwise resort to violence. If groups of individuals willingly choose this system of justice without coercion, then it is also innocuous. But the second consideration, which Socrates indicates at 54b, reveals the true nature of the relationship between most real citizens and their state institutions: “It is impious to bring violence against your mother or father, it is much more so to use it against your country.” The implication is that the state has raised and educated Socrates, that the benefit it bestows upon him by sustaining him throughout his life creates a series of obligations to the state. This is, at bottom, a base and unjustified compulsion which amounts to the same kind of harm against the individual that Socrates experienced (and rejected through further civil disobedience) at the hands of the thirty tyrants. Individuals have no choice over their place of birth, and the mere fact of their continued survival does not justify their subservience to the state. A social contract actually exists between equal individuals who perform real actions, not in an asymmetrical relationship between an individual and a set of abstract principles. What does it even mean to have an obligation to an intangible set of state policies absent any human persons? The actual survival of persons born in any state is not dependent upon the organization of the state's laws, but the actions of individuals which contribute directly to the well-being of that individual. It may be that the institutions facilitate the actions which individuals take, but if a state ever attempts to transcend the relationships which exist between individuals and reify itself as an institution which causes and maintains those relationships, then it has become a force of mere compulsion and itself abandoned the agreement concerning justice which Socrates concerns himself with. It is possible to conclude from this argument that the burden of proof lies on the nation state to justify its existence through the use of force.

Did the citizens of Athens actually exercise a meaningful degree of choice in the administration of justice? If Athens, like other states, essentially compels its citizens to accept its system of justice, it doesn't appear that it can meaningfully tell its citizens to submit to unjust demands to support the continued existence of that state, only of other individuals. Even in Socrates' time, it may have been entirely right to challenge state institutions by undermining their authority when their administration of force fails to produce justice, or produces it only on the state’s terms.

Works Cited

Plato, “Crito.” Five Dialogues. Trans. G.M.A. Grube. Hackett:   Cambridge, 1981. Print.

Brett Belcastro is a student at MCLA

Does Anatomy Determine Autonomy?
The Psychoanalytic Construction of Gender
Matthew J. Luz
While it is currently fashionable to reject Sigmund Freud’s theories, classifying them as unscientific, overly reductive, or unreasonably obsessed with sex (1), self-proclaimed Neo-Freudian Karen Horney takes a nuanced approach, reinterpreting Freud’s concepts of penis envy, female masochism, and the Oedipus complex as socially-constructed gendered power-relations instead of interpreting them literally. In doing this, she demonstrates the ongoing relevance of Freud’s theories, shedding light on the outdated and male biased descriptions of his controversial concepts, later facilitating the intellectual feminist movement against traditional psychoanalysis, where the aim is to explain how men and women see and experience the ways in which gender is constructed. By dismissing Freud’s theory as incorrect and demonstrating an attitude, like “Freud was wrong, so why is he worth studying,” we are committing a great atrocity, for his writings inspired great work in the sector that is feminist philosophy.
Freud’s psychosexual theory, critiqued for being phallocentric by feminists (2), introduces an overt, explicit male bias into his theoretical explanation of childhood development. Feminists continue to advertise Freud as “not just phallocentric but misogynist; who was not just wrong about women because of male bias but wrong because of his own fundamental sexism” (3). Feminists portray Freud as a misogynist on the basis of his reductively biological instinct perspective on psychosexual development as his way to explain the differences between biological males and females; Freud’s perspective on sexual determinism perpetuates the widely-criticized derogatory slogan “anatomy is autonomy.” Some of Freud’s theories are known to offend feminists, for the possibility of feminine autonomy in Freud’s model appears impossible. Autonomy is the result of determinism; the anatomical possession of the phallus grants the male privilege invisible to the naked eye.
The phallus is the fundamental basis for male privilege, and since the woman lacks this anatomical feature, she experiences distress, resents her mother as a child, and identifies (4) with her father; Freud’s depiction of the female Oedipus complex explains this envy towards men and it is from this that he develops the penis envy phenomenon (5). Feminists also charge Freud with sexism for his deliberate inattentiveness towards the feminine psychology and the female in general; his writings, case studies, and the like are masculinized, and his theories are rooted in universal biological determinism. Freud seals the gender gap, concluding that it is biological sex which determines gender, which in turn, determines social role. The phallus is a predetermined and gendered superiority complex further dividing the genders and enforcing a gender binary, whereas Horney critiques Freud’s biological interpretation of the phallus, substituting reductive biology for symbolism. Horney’s interpretation of the phallus is as a lifelong quest for autonomy which is separate from the physical possession of the phallus. In other words, Horney’s reinterpretation is opportunistic of women, not deterministic of gendered role based on anatomy.
Horney’s reinterpretation of the phallus is as a continuous lifelong quest where the woman takes steps towards developing her own autonomy, a lifelong fight for personal freedom denied to the woman who lives in a patriarchal society. Where Horney believes the woman journeys for the symbolic phallus, Freud believes the woman desires the possession of the male’s genitalia (6). Freud terms the woman’s innate jealousy over the male phallus penis envy, which Horney agrees women do possess; however, there are varying degrees to which penis envy occurs, for example:
penis envy is presumed to manifest itself in the behavior of the ‘castrating female’ – ambitious, competitive, seeking to dominate and humiliate men. Tendencies towards dictatorial power and egocentric ambition, Horney noted, are characteristics of neurotic men as well as neurotic women (7).

Horney believes all women experience penis envy and that it is healthy and normal to some degree, however, the woman is not upset at her anatomical lack of the phallic organ, but by the symbolic entity that is the phallus.

So if the woman is to liberate herself from her predetermined gender role, she must resist the prescriptive behaviors society allots her to engage in. Horney’s reinterpretation of Freud’s concepts led to the attack of the nuclear family and liberation of female gender normative behaviors. Horney’s work contributed greatly to the anti-Freudian movements in the 1920’s and later after the World War II era when women were forced back into the house. While she took Freud very seriously in order to correct his work, she did so wisely, for remaining dismissive is an attitude only immature philosophers have.

While Freud’s biological explanation of psychosexual development unnecessarily discriminates on the basis of biological sex, Horney believes environmental influences serve as a better explanation of development; her interpretation of the phallus sheds light on the woman’s feelings of female inferiority. Although Horney claims that Freud’s model demonstrates a male bias, she labels herself a Neo-Freudian (8), adopting many of Freud’s concepts and integrates them into her writings. While some continue to critique Freud’s psychoanalytic theory, the field of “psychoanalysis in fact continues to be one of the few of our cultural institutions which does not professionally discriminate against women, and in which they could even be said to predominate” (9). We cannot dismiss Freud’s highly controversial and offensive concepts, for they contributed to many thinkers’ ideas and theoretical models of personality development. Some psychologists continue to use Freud’s better-developed practices, like free association and dream analysis, and believe Freud’s work is detrimental to the progression of the field today. Many great minds like Karen Horney, Erik Erikson, and Carl Jung drew many theoretical implications from Freud’s works and used his ideas as groundworks to develop their own theories of personality development.


1. Crews, Frederick C. "Freud: What's Left?" The New York Review of Books. NY Times, 23 Feb. 2017. Web. 28             Mar. 2017.
2. Young-Bruehl, Elisabeth, & Wexler, Laura. “On Psychoanalysis and Feminism.’” Social Research 59.2 (1992). Web. 24 Feb. 2017.
3. Ibid., 455.
4. Identification is the Freudian defense mechanism where one who experiences the anxiety emulates the behaviors of a person who they perceive as threatening in order to alleviate anxiety. This idea originated from the Oedipus complex.
5. Ryckman, R. M. Theories of Personality. India: Wadsworth, 2013. Print.
6. Freud, Sigmund. The Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume VII (1901-5): A Case of Hysteria, Three Essays on Sexuality, and Other Works. Toronto: The Hogarth Press Limited, 1953. Print.
7. Stone, Judson T. “The Theory and Practice of Psychoanalysis.” Science & Society 10.1 (1946). Web. 24 Feb. 2017, 34.
8. Ibid.
9. Rose, Jacqueline. “Femininity and Its Discontents.” Feminist Review 14.1 (1983). Web. 21 Feb. 2017. 6.

Matt Luz is a student at MCLA