A History of Ideas: The Oedipus Complex


A History of Ideas: The Oedipus Complex

 Cognitive and TED collaboration

Aidan Turner on the Oedipus Complex

 Ray Laurence

Do all boys and girls go through a phase where they want to sleep with their parent of the opposite sex and kill their parent of the same sex? Sigmund Freud saw the Oedipus and Electra complexes as a natural stage of development which only caused problems when individuals failed to move on past them. However, the anthropologist Edvard Westermarck thought that humans were naturally not sexually attracted to people they grow up with. Where does the truth lie? And what might our response indicate about our relationships with our parents?

Want to hear more on this topic?

Here’s the whole episode from A History of Ideas –   Writer Lisa Appignanesi on the love of children. 

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