The Disciple of Freud

Steve Hoenisch

In Wittgenstein Reads Freud, Bouveresse defers to McGunness' conclusion of why Wittgenstein saw himself as a disciple of Freud: the role of mythology in their work. Bouveresse quotes McGuinness (pages 42 and 43):

"So Wittgenstein wants to avoid the mythology implicit in our first reflections on language. He wants to substitute a form of reflection which avoids it--though perhaps at the risk of introducting a new mythology of its own, that of "use" as something present all at once, for example. He wants to see through the surface grammar."

According to Bouveresse's citations of Fania Pascal1, Wittgenstein "felt he had no need of Freud," perhaps because, I would like to suggest, Wittgenstein believed that the totality of his inner life was open to inspection without the constraints of the unconscious, leaving him to remark, as quoted by Bouveresse, that "the supreme good, in philosophy as well as life [was] utter clarity and complete honesty in one's relations with oneself."

End Notes


  1. Ludwig Wittgenstein: A Personal Memoir, in Ludwig Wittgenstein, Personal recollections, ed. Rush Rhees, p. 59.


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