Wittgenstein Reads Freud: The Myth of the Unconscious

Overview

"'It will take a long time,' said Wittgenstein, 'before we lose our subservience' to Freudian psychoanalysis. By casting the philosopher's scattered reflections into the form of a sustained and powerful critique, Jacques Bouveresse brings that day considerably nearer."?Frederick Crews

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Wittgenstein Reads Freud: The Myth of the Unconscious

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Overview

"'It will take a long time,' said Wittgenstein, 'before we lose our subservience' to Freudian psychoanalysis. By casting the philosopher's scattered reflections into the form of a sustained and powerful critique, Jacques Bouveresse brings that day considerably nearer."—Frederick Crews

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Boston Book Review - Eugene Goodheart
Wittgenstein is a severe critic of Freud's scientific claims, but he is not in the company of those who disparage his achievement. His remarks about Freud are scattered through his writing. Bouveresse has artfully brought them together to reveal a coherently ambivalent view of Freud.
San Francisco Chronicle - Kenneth Baker
The grand Baroque architecture of Freud's thought still stands after Wittgenstein's, and Bouveresse's, peppering critique, but it no longer looks habitable.
The London Financial Times - A.C. Grayling
Bouveresse's perceptive and illuminating study of Wittgenstein on Freud ... is very welcome not just as an immensely readable account of two of the century's most important thinkers, but because it throws light also on the intellectual debate in France, where there has been a lively quarrel between psychoanalysis and philosophy.
Nature - Ray Monk
In drawing together most of the remarks made by Wittgenstein on Freud, many of the relevant passages from Freud's work, and a good deal of quotation from the secondary literature on the subject, Bouveresse has performed a valuable service for Wittgenstein scholars.
The London Financial Times - A. C. Grayling
Bouveresse's perceptive and illuminating study of Wittgenstein on Freud ... is very welcome not just as an immensely readable account of two of the century's most important thinkers, but because it throws light also on the intellectual debate in France, where there has been a lively quarrel between psychoanalysis and philosophy.
From the Publisher
"Wittgenstein is a severe critic of Freud's scientific claims, but he is not in the company of those who disparage his achievement. His remarks about Freud are scattered through his writing. Bouveresse has artfully brought them together to reveal a coherently ambivalent view of Freud."—Eugene Goodheart, Boston Book Review

"The grand Baroque architecture of Freud's thought still stands after Wittgenstein's, and Bouveresse's, peppering critique, but it no longer looks habitable."—Kenneth Baker, San Francisco Chronicle

"Bouveresse's perceptive and illuminating study of Wittgenstein on Freud ... is very welcome not just as an immensely readable account of two of the century's most important thinkers, but because it throws light also on the intellectual debate in France, where there has been a lively quarrel between psychoanalysis and philosophy."—A. C. Grayling, The London Financial Times

"In drawing together most of the remarks made by Wittgenstein on Freud, many of the relevant passages from Freud's work, and a good deal of quotation from the secondary literature on the subject, Bouveresse has performed a valuable service for Wittgenstein scholars."—Ray Monk, Nature

"This small book is a treasure for those of us who want to understand and better articulate our own ambivalent attitudes toward Freud."—Psychoanalytic Books

Boston Book Review
Wittgenstein is a severe critic of Freud's scientific claims, but he is not in the company of those who disparage his achievement. His remarks about Freud are scattered through his writing. Bouveresse has artfully brought them together to reveal a coherently ambivalent view of Freud.
— Eugene Goodheart
San Francisco Chronicle
The grand Baroque architecture of Freud's thought still stands after Wittgenstein's, and Bouveresse's, peppering critique, but it no longer looks habitable.
— Kenneth Baker
Nature
In drawing together most of the remarks made by Wittgenstein on Freud, many of the relevant passages from Freud's work, and a good deal of quotation from the secondary literature on the subject, Bouveresse has performed a valuable service for Wittgenstein scholars.
— Ray Monk
Psychoanalytic Books
This small book is a treasure for those of us who want to understand and better articulate our own ambivalent attitudes toward Freud.
The London Financial Times
Bouveresse's perceptive and illuminating study of Wittgenstein on Freud ... is very welcome not just as an immensely readable account of two of the century's most important thinkers, but because it throws light also on the intellectual debate in France, where there has been a lively quarrel between psychoanalysis and philosophy.
— A. C. Grayling
Boston Book Review
Wittgenstein is a severe critic of Freud's scientific claims, but he is not in the company of those who disparage his achievement. His remarks about Freud are scattered through his writing. Bouveresse has artfully brought them together to reveal a coherently ambivalent view of Freud.
— Eugene Goodheart
Library Journal
Wittgenstein saw psychoanalysis as a myth masquerading as science, acquiring dangerous persuasive powers from the confusion. Bouveresse, a much-published professor at the Collge de France, notes that Wittgenstein did not object to myths or for that matter to persuasive discourse; he thought that philosophy by its nature is persuasive. But for him psychoanalysis confused the categories, which is precisely where the dangers lie; it could not be a science because not all mental events have causes, much less the "necessary meanings" that Freudians assign them. Bouveresse admits that Wittgenstein was not consistent (he once said that Freud could claim "extraordinary scientific achievements"). But Wittgenstein generally feared schemes that drew people into preordained mindsets and was deeply suspicious of attempts to build science itself into a mind-controlling ideology. Bouveresse's book, unfortunately, manages only in the last chapter to confront the questions of morality and persuasion that concerned Wittgenstein. But it does expose the major issues, and the translation is clear. For general readers with a taste for scholarly infighting and niggles.-Leslie Armour & Suzie Johnston, Univ. of Ottawa
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691029047
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 9/16/1996
  • Series: New French Thought Series
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 168
  • Sales rank: 1,039,117
  • Product dimensions: 6.11 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 0.46 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword
Ch. I Wittgenstein: Disciple of Freud? 3
Ch. II The Problem of the Reality of the Unconscious 22
Ch. III The "Generalizing Impulse" or the Philosopher in Spite of Himself 42
Ch. IV Reasons and Causes 69
Ch. V The Mechanics of the Mind 83
Ch. VI The "Principle of Insufficient Reason" and the Right to Nonsense 97
Ch. VII The "Message" of the Dream 109
Conclusion 122
Notes 127
Bibliography 133
Index 139
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