Hegel vs. Freud

Both Hegel and Freud venture to explain the consciousness and how we interpret our surroundings. In Freud’s piece, An Outline of Psycho-Analysis, he explains how we interact with internal and external events in terms of the id, ego, and super ego, while Hegel explains his ideas in Sense Certainty using the all-excompassing ‘I’. Sense-certainty is the immediate sensory response to and object or event. However, how we interpret and store this knowledge must  depend on our consciousness. It must therefore depend on the all encompassing ‘I’ instead of the immediate Here and Now response of sense-certainty. “The force of its truth thus lies now in the ‘I’, in the immediacy of my seeing, hearing, and so on; the vanishing of the single Now and Here that we mean is prevented by the fact that I hold them fast” (§101). Thus I have knowledge in the object, but then it is also in me since I am a self-conscious being that can withhold this information. The ‘I’ must then be the best form of knowledge because it is all encompassing and universal, containing all the observations gathered through sense-certainty and their interpretations.

Freud, on the other hand, does not define consciousness and knowledge as the all-encompassing ‘I’ that is gathered through sense-certainty experience, but rather three divisions of our psyche. The id is a part of consciousness that we are born with and contains everything inherited including natural instincts.

Then throughout life the ego and super-ego are developed through experience. The ego is a part of the mind where the id has developed to deal with external world. This part of the mind controls body movements and sense perception of external events, and can either avoid, adapt from, or interact with stimuli in order to make changes in these external events. For internal events, the ego controls natural instincts, while seeking pleasure and avoiding unpleasure. The super-ego is part of the ego that is shaped by parents because of our long period of dependence during our youth. It is developed throughout childhood by this third party influence so must be differentiated from the ego. It is not only the parents that shape the super-ego but also the family, traditions, teachers, society, etc.

Overall, looking at these definitions, Hegel argues that we are an all-encompassing being dependent on sense-certainty while Freud divides our psyche into distinct branches that develop differently in response to our experience.

Also, completely unrelated to this post but I was trying to find a picture and found this. Enjoy.


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