Rivista di filosofia
Journal of Philosophy
ISSN 2420-9775
Anno VI, N. 15
Online 31/03/2020
Mimesis Edizioni

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Freud contra Nietzsche.
The Case of David Strauss and the First Untimely Meditation
I. ROTELLA

In spite of the philosophical and not-philosophical historiography that is aiming to support the thesis of a close link between Nietzsche’s works and Freudian psychoanalysis, such a conception seems quite problematic. Historically, a direct and deep Freudian reading of Nietzschean texts appears extremely doubtful, also considering the ethical implications of both authors. The different attitude of Freud and Nietzsche towards the cultural phenomenon of David Strauss and, in particular, his writing The Old and the New Faith, could provide a paradigmatic case to highlight the problematic nature of that relationship. We could find interesting to compare the different approach, Nietzschean and Freudian, to the work of Strauss, paradoxically revealing the incredible similarities and, at the same time, the equally radical differences between these two thinkers.
Both Nietzsche and Freud found in Strauss a useful tool to focus their atheism, giving the first impression of a convergent reading. Later, their approaches take completely divergent paths: Nietzsche, from the First Untimely Meditation on, will always interpret a certain way of understanding atheism as a more or less disguised manifestation of ascetic ideals, while Freud, defining the psychoanalysts as ‘lay pastors of souls’, will go more and more in the direction of a religiosity of science, absolutely comparable to what is described in Genealogy.
It could therefore be argued that the First Untimely Meditation can also be interpreted as a criticism ante litteram against Freud, ‘untimely’ because it comes before the time; while the works of Freud’s maturity may be interpreted as a criticism of the ethical Nietzschean perspectivism, starting from the tradition of Enlightenment and Positivism, then representing an ‘untimely’ position, but in the sense of coming with delay after the time.

KEYWORDS: Nietzsche, Freud, Strauss, Untimely, Atheism

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