EDIT: By choice of phrasing of question, I did not mean to convey awareness and endorsement of all works of Maslow and Freud, and I most certainly do not have such awareness, and so cannot/do not endorse or recommend. My awareness extends only to a couple of specific ideas/concepts... specifically mentioned below. Concepts I happen to find "sympatico". But which I think may have updated better versions.

If Maslow and Freud had ten bad ideas, and one good one, each, the ten bad ideas are not consequential in this instance.

If the mentioned concepts are "bad ideas"... then go ahead and say that. And best... mention what might replace them.

In describing the human "self" or individual, or personal identity, who we are and what makes us tick... analytically...the source of our decisions, actions, "What comes out"... what we decide we are willing to actually utter...

I am aware of Freuds suggested Id, Ego, and Superego. And Maslow's Heirarchy of Human Needs and his categorizations into physiological, social, etc.

If I had of "stayed in school", and gotten to Philosophy 501, instead of being a second year dropout... are there other contemporary/modern contributors analysis of "Who we are, how we think, and why we think?"

I don't even know if... are Maslow and Freud good "foundations", from a philosophical assessment of "systems of breaking down and describing an identity"? Sometimes original theories get updated, made better...

  • Such as Darwin's evolution of species being supported and improved upon by our discovery of genetics and mutations and the chemical way characteristics and traits are handed down generation to generation.

  • The "Big Bang" and expansion getting improved upon (mathematically, theoretically) by the invocation of onconfirmed "Dark Matter" and "Dark Energy" to create the fuller "LamdaCDM" model.

Are there more popular, more accepted, more betterer (grin) analysis of self, that one learns about within later years of Philosophy? Please.

(This is my first question that I think might fit the model of this site, just right. Fingers crossed. I am interested to see what can be learned.)

Oh. Maybe someone has grouped and categorized the input from "others" as one grows up and becomes who we become? The exposures and opportunities to absorb and learn from observation and experience. Some sort of analysis of that aspect of who we are, by way of "Path's found, paths taken, paths walked"? Or some system of grouping I am not aware of??

We all recognize we are not the same person we would be, if we were say, born into a royal family, or the off-spring of a pair of Harvard Professors, or an A-list actor or owner of a multi-billion dollar business empire. (Not that I would wish any of the above on myself or any other). I just mean to say, it seems obvious... "birth and upbringinging" are a large part of "Who we have become". Maybe there has been an analyst that has thought that stuff through and come up with a good syntheses?

Anything along these lines would be appreciated.

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    Any author in social psychology, and there are many, could go into the blanks. I read original Freud: The Ego and the Id; Civilization and Its Discontents. I read the paper by Maslow concerning the description of needs. Freud is more insightful. Why? He begins at the origin with the helpless newborn ego. Maslow's theory should be revised to assert that newborn human ego needs are inherently social needs. I discovered the early life needs after my sociology teacher in high school said, "Humans learn animals have instincts." Fish eggs hatch in 10s of 1000s with no parents. Mammal ego is social. Commented Apr 27 at 16:12
  • I like to do that... imagining a human baby, born on an island that luckily has no threats/risks, and luckily somehow without other humans, supplies all the babies physical needs... thinking what opinion it would have about things... the blank slate. Verus a baby brought up in society. Commented Apr 27 at 16:21
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    Dramatic artists express such thought experiments. I don't regard Freud as a scientist, nor social psychology as an empirical science, I regard it as introspection of myself and my analysis of patterns of drama. This is a very enriching way to live but I detest the fools who want to imitate scientists in their drama rather than to say that we must experience drama to understand and discuss the experience of drama. I used to stand in a bar in a Zen posture. My friend called this: Tarzan standing on a rock. As a teen I wanted to be like Tarzan (but not baby Tarzan): youtu.be/_h2wd9RcexA. Commented Apr 27 at 16:29
  • Contemplating feral child syndrome used to evoke the most intense pain for me. I map this pain to concepts called abandonment trauma and The Problem of Evil. Jesus says, "Man does not live on bread alone, but upon every word that comes from the mouth of God." Among the first words from the mouth of a typical human child are signs associated with the presence of "mother" and "father". The absence of a biological need is called a deprivation. One infers that pain arises in the context of deprivation; but the body can defend against persistent pain; and with adverse long term impairment. Commented Apr 27 at 16:44
  • I learned from a guy taking some psych an dlanguage courses that "mama" and "papa" are the words mostly associated with parents, because... they are the easiest, and most natural and first sounds a baby is capable of making. MaMa being just an outbreathing while opening and closing, and PaPa being the first "hold and pressure build and release" movement of the lips. Motion 1 and Motion 1 in lip and tongue and teeth control.. WE AS PARENTS then chose to imagine that the kids mean US... well, because who else would they mean... and we reinforce and teach the kids... "MAMA".... THAT's ME !! Commented Apr 27 at 17:02

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Freud/psychoanalysis is hardly serious science by today's standard.

Criticisms of Freud's Ego, Superego, Id

From chatGPT:

Lack of Empirical Evidence

One common criticism is that Freud's theory lacks empirical support. Many of his concepts, including the ego, superego, and id, are difficult to measure objectively or test empirically, leading some critics to question their scientific validity.

Lack of Falsifiability

Freud's theories have been criticized for being difficult to falsify, meaning that they are not easily subject to empirical testing or disproving. Some critics argue that this lack of falsifiability makes Freudian theory less scientific and more speculative.

Overemphasis on Sexual and Aggressive Drives

Freud's theory places significant emphasis on sexual and aggressive drives as primary motivators of human behavior. Some critics argue that this focus oversimplifies human motivation and ignores other important factors, such as social, cultural, and environmental influences.

Limited Scope of Development

Freud's theory primarily focuses on early childhood experiences and the development of personality. Critics argue that this narrow focus overlooks the ongoing development and flexibility of personality across the lifespan, as well as the role of social and environmental factors in shaping personality.

Gender and Cultural Bias

Freud's theories have been criticized for reflecting the gender and cultural biases of his time. For example, his concept of penis envy and castration anxiety has been seen as reflecting a male-centric perspective on human development. Critics argue that Freud's theories may not fully account for the diversity of human experiences across genders and cultures.


As for Maslow he has an even lower pedigree among the scientific intelligentsia but there is little pretence in that direction unlike Freud who had an imagination that he was creating a new science. Maslow — in my view — belongs more to the traditional spiritual teachings of yore than to modern science.

  • Ahhhhh. You helped me see.. I accidently put out there "Maslow, and Freud". DOH. My bad. And maybe I better fix it. I have very little awareness of the entire works of Freud or Maslow. Only awareness of the specifics mentioned, which to me seem astute, and I thought acceptable. But perhaps to be built on. THEN... by phrasing the question as I did... I accidentally inflated (a lot)... the conveyed context. Instead of the intended specifics, making it seem I to be knowledgeable and supportive of the rest of their works. Sorry. Commented Apr 27 at 17:43
  • So a couple of things, if you might... do you think the pyramid, and the id/ego/superego breakdown non-useful? Ignoring all their other ideas. And... if not, or even if so... what other ideas would you suggest add to... OR.. if they are not good ideas... then what ideas of ... composition of self... replace them?? Commented Apr 27 at 17:45
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    @AlistairRiddoch [I think] the pyramid very useful. [Some nowadays extend it one or two levels but thats just a minor refinement] I think Freud has been bad for the world bad for science. The overwhelming sexualization of our common life can be at least in part attributed to Freud validating it. "The most important word of our langauge: See facebook.com/watch/?v=474238830648703
    – Rushi
    Commented Apr 27 at 17:53
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    I think the criticism of the pyramid is just as valid as the one of Freud, given that Maslow himself never thought it should be thought as a pyramid in the first place.
    – Philip Klöcking
    Commented Apr 28 at 21:41
  • @PhilipKlöcking Not sure what your point is. In his original paper Maslow says: "These basic goals are related to each other, being arranged in a hierarchy of prepotency. This means that the most prepotent goal will monopolize consciousness and will tend of itself to organize the recruitment of the various capacities of the organism." So apart from the picture the pyramid found in all later pop-self-help etc material is clearly there
    – Rushi
    Commented Apr 29 at 8:31

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