Explain Freud's views on the source of moral awareness (25 marks)

Topics: Morality, Psychology, Sigmund Freud Pages: 2 (502 words) Published: June 18, 2014
Heloise Tudor

Explain Freud's views on the source of moral awareness.
(25 Marks)

Sigmund Freud was a 19th-20th Century neurologist and is commonly known for his work in Psychology- notably psychoanalysis, but these ideas also related to Sociology and Philosophy as well. His opinions on moral awareness in particular relate to Philosophy because they contradict completely with the writings of Kant (who believed our conscience relates to religion, due to moral consensus that can be seen in the world). Moral awareness is the idea of the ethical guidelines humans follow, and the values we live our lives by which make up our moral code. Freud believed that values are a result of our upbringing, because this best explains why we each have such different opinions on what being moral means.

To understand Freud's views on moral awareness, it needs mentioning the 3 areas of the mind he proposed in his psychoanalytic theory of personality. The first is the ID "instinctive drives", this consists of a human's basic instincts and desires and is the most selfish of the mind areas. For example, we are driven by hunger, especially as babies, and therefore don't consider other people at all. This area causes actions that show no concern for consequences or acknowledgment of our limitations. The second is the ego. Freud considered this to be the midpoint between the primitive impulses of the ID, and the morally driven superego (the 3rd area of the mind). The ego allows us to be rational, and helps us fight selfish urges and take a more morally acceptable route to satisfaction. For instance, the ego would cause us to buy an object instead of stealing it from another. The superego is what is referred to generally as our conscience. It helps us make moral decisions based on a code of conduct passed down to us from our parents and teachers through socialisation. Socialisation is the process by which someone acquires a personal identity and learns values, social skills and...
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