University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Departmental Seminars in History and Philosophy of Science > Freud, Russell and Wittgenstein: 'therapeutic positivism', psychoanalysis and the origins of analytic philosophy in Cambridge

Freud, Russell and Wittgenstein: 'therapeutic positivism', psychoanalysis and the origins of analytic philosophy in Cambridge

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The paper will discuss the very different responses of Bertrand Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein to the work of Sigmund Freud in the period 1917–55, concentrating mainly on the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. Russell’s response was very much typical of his contemporaries, both in his scepticism and his enthusiasm, and also reflected his political and educational projects as much as his philosophical preoccupations. Wittgenstein, on the other hand, turned out to be a true Freudian, fiercely critical and under his spell. Wittgenstein’s response – and the quasi-Freudian reading by early-20th century philosophers of Wittgenstein himself – give us a new insight into the origins of analytic philosophy in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s.

This talk is part of the Departmental Seminars in History and Philosophy of Science series.

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