We are pleased to announce the talk Freud’s Agnosticism? by Lorenzo Chiesa from Newcastle University.

The talk will be an online event and it will take place the 8th of April at 4pm.

Teams will be used. If you are interested in participating, please contact Dr Frank Ruda to register.

Here is the abstract of the event:

Freud’s Agnosticism?

Famously, in The Future of an Illusion, Freud claims that religion is an illusion. Far less famously, in the same context, he also specifies that illusions should be distinguished from delusions. The latter are manifestly in conflict with reality, and belong to the field of psychiatry. The former are indeed equally sustained by deep-seated subjective wishes but are not inevitably in conflict with reality. In between the lines, we are invited to rationally contemplate the hypothesis that religious ideas may not necessarily turn out to be delusional illusions.

Following on this premise, in my presentation I will propose a new reading of The Future of an Illusion by focusing on a – unacknowledged yet productive – tension in Freud’s arguments. On the one hand, Freud enthusiastically, and at times naively, anticipates the logical triumph of atheism. On the other, he persistently, albeit reluctantly, justifies agnosticism as more rational. This same tension also affects the role of science. At face value, Freud has almost unlimited faith in the progress of science, but his own arguments also powerfully expose its limits.

More on Lorenzo Chiesa: