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Freud's Objection to the Moral ArgumentSigmund Freud (1856-1939) was an Austrian neurologist and the founder of the psychoanalytic school of psychology. He based his theories on the belief that human development is best understood in terms of changing objects of sexual desire. He believed that the unconscious often represses wishes (generally of a sexual and/or aggressive nature) and that unconscious conflicts over repressed wishes may express themselves in dreams and "Freudian slips". These unconscious conflicts are the source of neuroses and that neurosis could be treated through bringing these unconscious wishes and repressed memories to consciousness in psychoanalytic treatment.
Freud believed that the conscience is the product of the unconscious mind. Feelings of Kantian duty are a product of human nature and social engineering.
Freud divided the mind into three parts:
Hence , a person’s moral sense comes from the ‘super ego’ – an ‘inner parent’ which rewards good behaviour and punishes bad. The conscience is in fact the action of the super-ego. Actions that are normally thought of as being a matter of conscience are really determined by unconscious influences.
For Freud, religion is merely an obsessional neurosis. So called religious influences can be attributed to obsessive neurotic behaviour.
Kant was attempting to develop a philosophy independent of religion. For a psychologist like Freud, Kant was subconsciously being influnced by his strong pious unbringing which had been nurtured by his parents’ Lutheran faith.
More Problems with the Moral Argument
Reliance Upon Conscience