Freud, Stern and McGilchrist: Developmental and Cultural Implications of Their Work


“Human beings have two fundamentally different ways of thinking about and engaging with the world.” Some variant of this proposition is shared by many thinkers across time. This paper focuses on the core similarities and the subtle (but significant) differences between Freud’s theory of primary and secondary processes, Karl Stern’s theory of the scientific and poetic modes of knowledge and Iain McGilchrist’s account of the differences between left and right-hemispheric competences, values and ways of “being-in-the-world”. It asks whether (or to what extent) the collective tendency to privilege one “way of knowing” over another promotes or inhibits optimal human development and cultural change and transformation.


psychoanalysis, modes of knowing, hemispheric dominance, modernity, postmodernism

How to cite:

Burston, Daniel. “Freud, Stern and McGilchrist: Developmental and Cultural Implications of Their Work.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 3, no. 2(8) (2019): 109–123. https://doi.org/10.14394/eidos.jpc.2019.0021.


Daniel Burston
Psychology Department, Duquesne University
211 Rockwell Hall, Pittsburgh, PA 15282, USA


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