Follies of the Wise: Dissenting Essays

Follies of the Wise: Dissenting Essays

by Frederick Crews, Frederick C. Crews
     
 

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True skepticism is an attitude of constant questioning, a mode of thinking Frederick Crews held so dear he applied it to Freudian psychoanalytic theory, an intellectual tradition he initially believed to be empirically sound. But as his examination of the logical structure and institutional history of psychoanalysis revealed ever more cracks in the field's

Overview

True skepticism is an attitude of constant questioning, a mode of thinking Frederick Crews held so dear he applied it to Freudian psychoanalytic theory, an intellectual tradition he initially believed to be empirically sound. But as his examination of the logical structure and institutional history of psychoanalysis revealed ever more cracks in the field's empirical framework, Crews broke with Freudian theory, eventually labeling it the very model of a modern pseudoscience.

This collection features essays chronicling his rejection of Freudian psychoanalysis and our recent recovered memory movement, including such controversial and widely quoted pieces as “The Unknown Freud” and “The Revenge of the Repressed.” Crews also tackles new subjects as diverse as UFO abduction reports, American Buddhism, contemporary literary criticism, and theosophy. A single theme animates these bracing and witty discussions: the temptation to reach for facile wisdom without attending to the little voice that asks, “How might I be deceiving myself here?”

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
If Freud is, perhaps, no longer "a whole climate of opinion" (as characterized in Auden's memorial poem), he is still everywhere in the culture: what educated reader today has not heard of the concepts of repression; sublimation; transference; wish fulfillment; libido; Oedipus conflict; penis envy; the unconscious; neurosis; the id, ego, superego; and more? That being the case, Crews (English, emeritus, Univ. of California, Berkeley), the infamous Freudian contrarian, has his work cut out for him; and he does it well here. He argues convincingly-and this echoes many of Freud's critics, such as philosopher Adolph Greenbaum in a classic study-that it is impossible to verify any of Freud's central contentions empirically. This is shown in Crews's best essays and reviews of the past 15 years, as reproduced here, among which are the two controversial and widely quoted essays-"The Unknown Freud" and "The Revenge of the Repressed"-that caused Crews to "awake one day in 1993 to find himself notorious." Although this collection is mainly about Freud and the many issues entailed in his thought, Crews's interests are wide and varied, and there are topical and insightful essays here on other pertinent subjects: creationism and intelligent design, Darwin, Melville, Kafka, theosophy, and Zen Buddhism. Highly recommended for public libraries and academic collections in intellectual history.-Leon H. Brody, U.S. Office of Personnel Management Lib., Washington, DC Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781593761509
Publisher:
Counterpoint Press
Publication date:
03/28/2007
Pages:
416
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.20(d)

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