Tagged: Philosophy of Religion

Freud’s View of Religion

This paper was written in 1998/1999, as part of my research into the relationship between psychoanalysis and religion. 1. An Outline of Freud’s Critique of Religion Freud’s notion of the Oedipal conflict attempts to conceptualize the triangulation between the child’s desire for the mother (the real origin for the child) and the intervening father who also has a libidinal investment in the mother and thus becomes the figure which represents conflict and prohibition for the child. This conflict exemplifies a basic structure: the prohibition that creates the limit of the enjoyment of the mother represents the “reality principle”; it enlists reason...

William James: The will to believe.

“The Will to Believe”  is a lecture William James gave to the Philosophical Clubs of Yale and Brown Universities. Published in the New World, June, 1896.  It defends, in certain cases, the adoption of a belief without prior evidence of its truth. James wants to defend the rationality of religious faith, even when sufficient evidence of religious truth is lacking. James argues that to some degree, the evidence for whether or not certain beliefs are true, depends upon first adopting those beliefs without evidence. James argues, for instance, that it can be rational to have unsupported faith in one’s own ability to...

Theology in Freud and Lacan

 A Short Summary of the Arguments. In the struggle to find what sustains the psychological reality of religious belief as well as its deep rootedness, psychoanalysis loses its initial hostility against the phenomenon. Religion becomes a fascinating field to study from the psychoanalytic point of view. The development of the psychoanalytic interpretation of religion from Freud to Lacan shows how psychoanalytic theory itself was transformed through this task. Analysis of the religious phenomenon leads to the core of Lacanian theory, which is the constitutive function of the signifier in relation to the subject. Freud’s psychoanalytic study of Moses and Monotheism is the...