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Martino Fine Books
The Future of an Illusion

The Future of an Illusion

by Sigmund Freud
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Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, declared that religion is a universal obsessional neurosis in his famous work of 1927, The Future of an Illusion. This work provoked immediate controversy and has continued to be an important reference for anyone interested in the intersection of philosophy, psychology, religion, and culture.

Included in this volume is Oskar Pfister’s critical engagement with Freud’s views on religion. Pfister, a Swiss pastor and lay analyst, defends mature religion from Freud’s “scientism.” Freud’s and Pfister’s texts have been updated in Gregory C. Richter’s translations from the original German.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781614270867
Publisher: Martino Fine Books
Publication date: 06/13/2011
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 100
Sales rank: 712,700
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.24(d)

About the Author

Todd Dufresne is Professor of Philosophy at Lakehead University & Visiting Professor (Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology) at the University of Toronto. He is the author of several books on Freud including Tales From the Freudian Crypt (Stanford UP).

Gregory C. Richter is Professor of German and Linguistics at Truman State University and the translator of many works from German and French. Dufresne and Richter have also collaborated on the Broadview Edition of Beyond the Pleasure Principle.

Table of Contents

Introduction, Todd Dufresne
Sigmund Freud: A Brief Chronology
Translator’s Note, Gregory C. Richter

The Future of an Illusion

Appendix A: “The Illusion of a Future”: Oskar Pfister’s Response to Freud’s The Future of an Illusion

Appendix B: Other Works by Freud and Pfister on Religion

  1. Sigmund Freud, “Obsessive Actions and Religious Practices” (1907)
  2. From Sigmund Freud, Totem and Taboo (1913)
  3. From Sigmund Freud, “Scientific Interest in Psychoanalysis” (1913)
  4. From Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents (1930)
  5. From Sigmund Freud, Moses and Monotheism: Three Essays (1939)
  6. From Oskar Pfister, On the Psychology of Philosophical Thought (1923)



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The Future of an Illusion 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In this book Freud shows how the need for religion and a god who will protect us at all times stems from the helplessness of our childhood. Basically, there comes a point in our adolescence when we realize that we will die one day. This thought is much too threatening for our immature and underdeveloped brain to deal with. In order to satisfy our infantile wish of never dying, primitive humans invented a god figure who will save us from the inevitability of this. Freud shows how the protection we received from our mother/father/guardian easily converts, in our older age, to the concept of god. If logic, reasoning and science are the tools you use to run your life read this book. If faith is the method in which you acquire your information, read at your own risk.
shannonkearns on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
i find freud to be pretty insufferable and full of himself. even if he has good points i am so annoyed by his writing style that i can't get to them.
sgarnell on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Freud brings up a number of interesting arguments. Perhaps not everyone will agree, but I think this book has an interesting take on the mechanics of religious faith, and offers one possible explanation for its manifestation.
atomheart on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
interesting perspective on the illusion of religion from the king and creator of psycho-analysis. this is an extremely short read, and one that i will have to re-read again to get a firmer understanding of his analysis.his scientific tactic of breaking down the creation and dissemination of religious ideas over centuries, using psycho-analysis, is quite fascinating and frankly, hard to rationally argue. it really only leaves ones' 'faith' to believe in the absurdities of religious doctrine, or as he puts it, '[the church] maintains that religious doctrines are outside the jurisdiction of reason - are above reason. Their truth must be felt inwardly, and they need not be comprehended.' which begs the next statement that i thoroughly enjoy because it creates a nasty, yet accurate slippery slope, 'Am I to be obliged to believe in every absurdity? And if not, why this one in particular?'moreover, he discusses the formation of religion from both the achievement and shortcomings of civilization. and answers how the world would handle the non-existence of it, as a civilization.its nice to read a purely scientific analysis of religion. not opinion, but analysis using the same method he used to make modern psychology what it is today.but i guess this is a moot point when we as humans are not capable of understanding divine power and wisdom.
Mckyle More than 1 year ago
Well written and well preserved till this day. I was raised a Presbyterian. I went to all boys catholic boarding high school. I am well vested in the bible. I am also a chemist.  That said. i do believe as a black male in America who is usually the target of uniform agents of the law, reading the origin of civilization, and how from the onset our free will is constricted made very much sense in the book. The book implies that regardless of if man behave perfect to the last bottom line of angelic perfection, someone within the alliance  of perfect band of men will be a scapegoat to government enterprise. This is proven in the rantings of Nikolia Mackevelli and the roman government of antiquity. this is proven in american  and the promotion of their strength. this is proven between husband and wife. Relationship between the creatures of the earth to remain reciprocal, there must be a two or multiple shade to separate. Religion was one way to do that because we are wired to to accept authority.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
First things first, I'm a high school senior and at first this book is intimidating. People pointed and laughed when they saw that I was reading "for fun." Fortunately, and this is one of the best decisions of my life, I persisted. I'd never been very clear as to what my feelings were on religion, so I decided to read a selection of religious papers advocating religion and giving logical points confirming God's existence, then making myself familiar with atheistic theories. After doing both, Freud's "The Future of an Illusion" being my atheistic selection and a collection of papers attempting to use mathematical evidence to back up The Bible being my religious selection, I made my choice overwhelmingly to do away with any thoughts of religion.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a devoted follower of many of Freud's psychological theories (except those sexist ones), and this is one of the best books I've read by him. Without resorting to insults or blantant attacks on Christianity, he goes to show that religion is a sociological disease and must perish or take us all down with it. He could have been a little harsher, though.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I first read this book in college, and I was mesmerized. I have since bought myself another copy, and I have purchased several for friends. Now, I am NOT a Freudian with regard to psychology, but Freud does have a very clear way of writing. This book details the logical argument for atheism yet remains respectful of religion. If you are an atheist/agnostic and have trouble putting your beliefs into intelligent words, this book is for you!!! It analytically explains the psychological reasons for religion, thereby validating it, but it does intelligently state why religion is not likely related to truth or fact in any way. A wonderful, intelligent book...Freud--who knew?
Guest More than 1 year ago
I felt that I should put in a comment if this is considered a review. I read the book about twenty years ago when I started college. I was and still am, a Born Again Christian. The book, to me, had alot of mistakes form a man who totally did not understand true Christianity, despite his knowledge.