Freud (The Routledge Philosophers)

Freud (The Routledge Philosophers)This is really just an excellent and well written introduction to Freud s theories. Jonathan Lear, a professor of Philosophy at the University of Chicago, has here written an extremely helpful introduction to the thought of Freud that comes at this giant s work from the angle of the ancient philosophical search for wise living That was a mouth full so let me put it simply Lear is a philosopher who reads Freud for the purpose of living ahealthy life The fundamental task taken up by Socrates the quest to know thyself is the most basic intention and goal of this book it is, as Lear calls it, the fundamental question But knowing thyself cannot be accomplished not that its possible in any comprehensive sense without first understanding how our human behavior and desires work This latter and prerequisite task is psychoanalysis.At bottom, psychoanalysis is a practical tool intended to help the analysand bring to consciousness certain unconscious drives, feelings, and wishes that are presenting themselves in his or her neurotic behaviors anxiety, depression, anger, etc all of which are causing the lived experience of the individual to go wrong A lot of our problems in life are explainable by various latent, undeveloped, and unaddressed fears, traumas, habits, etc from childhood upbringing that we ve internalized and thus keep coming back again and again We not only don t know what s going on in the unconscious, but we also repress such drives and feelings, distracting ourselves from the deep feelings and such is a self induced tactic whose goal is to turn away from reality All of this is a self induced cycle of unhappiness and actually get in the way of our human flourishing.My favorite chapter was the last one in which Lear critiques Freud s criticisms of religion Lear is clearly a religious thinker who thinks that psychoanalysis is compatible with Christian belief. I would have given this book 4 stars if it hadn t been for the final chapter Lear lost credibility in his sweeping, unsubstantiated criticism of Freud s view of religion and morals If they are valid criticisms, they were not expounded upon enough for the reader Lear admits to being religious and comes across as personally insulted by Freud s low opinion of religion It feels like Lear is trying too hard to be persuasive without giving valid reasons for his position On a positive note, Lear is very methodical in his writing He unpacks Freud s ideas nicely I appreciated the recommended readings at the end of each chapter. An extremely gripping and philosophically compelling exposition of Freud s major psychoanalytic theories. This book was a nice follow up to the Mishra book, An End to Suffering I was in the mood to beself reflective, and what better way to do it than to read something about Freud Lear basically uses Freud s talk therapy sessions as the raw material for his book, at times incorporating Frued s interpretation of what was happening, but at other times showing where Freud went wrong In whole, Lear seems to be arguing against the idea of our identities being that of distinct, contradictory selves, and movesto the idea of the identity as an evolving process, the benefits of talk therapy being the quest of being to articulate our inchoate emotions, and make sense of the world. This is a very readable and interesting introduction to Freud and to psychoanalysis It looks at Freud from a philosophical point of view and makes many interesting links particularly to Socrates and Plato I did occasionally feel that it was seeking to be popular in a negative sense and the author certainly has the confidence to present clear views and make clear judgements, some of which did strike me as being a bit quick or superficial However, there are many interesting perspective and a good balance between sympathy and agreement with Freud and the attempt to stand back a bit and assess his work Three stars is perhaps a bit harsh, but as an ex philosopher my expectations of philosophers are a bit high I also think that seeing Freud s work through Plato s eyes is ratherworthwhile and interesting than adding Davidsonian insights to psychoanalytic perspectives but that is probably mainly a reflection on me rather than on this book. Nearly five stars, but there s whole important areas of Freud s thought that are never mentioned e.g., castration complex , and many sections where Lear opens with Freud s view on this subject is somewhat dated and incorrect, so I m going to give my own view The problem is, even if Freud s view is incorrect on some such subject, it would be prudent to tell the reader what Freud thought, instead of skipping over his ideas in favor of Lear s, since we readers did after all buy a book on Freud, not on Lear For instance, we are treated to Lear s theory on the unconscious, and the process of repetition, and Freud s theories are nearly completely ignored.Still, a good book. An anglo analytic approch to Freud Some interesting critiques Five excellent chapters and one ok ish For some reason, Lear feels that Freud s critiques of religion are unjustified um, ok Contains great lists of recommended reading at the end of each chapter Also, of interest he describes the goal of psychotherapy as free speech similar to Lacan. Lucid and accessible philosophical introduction to Freud that is critical yet sympathetic my favorite kind of introductions Argues, contra Donald Davidson, that the unconscious ought not to be thought of as a second mind I am rather new to Freud but I found Lear s argument rather compelling, I do think the mind ought to be thought of holistically that may be divided preconscious, unconscious, subconscious, conscious but it is still one I guess a kind of cognitive monism I don t know His chapter on dream analysis was very compelling but I felt he could have articulated condensation and displacement a bit better I needed outside reading material to better comprehend it the fault in lack of understanding could be my own but either way it fairly radically shifted the way I look at dreams The concept of transference seems tricky he even admits it is not very well understood in psychoanalysis itself but I thought Lear did a good job articulating this concept at an introductory level though it was still quite complicated and I m not sure I quite get the full gist of it The pleasure reality principle stuff is neat and Lear s critique of the death drive was interesting, but I didn t quite understand it to be honest haha Lear s articulating of the id ego superego and its genealogical formation and the Oedipus complex were really good, I was enthralled with it gave me a lot to think about I think Freud s theory of morality and religion are quite interesting and like most of his theories fairly weird but I do think Lear pretty much demolished it with his critique Lear admits its the weakest part of Freud s theory and from what I know I tend to agree, though it is still an interesting thing to read aboutFreud essentially constructs his own myth to explain mythologies Overall, very good introduction to Freud and I feel like it is accessible to most people, the chapter on Transference was by far the hardest one to grasp, but this is a perfect introduction for someone with a little bit of experience of reading academic texts like, say, a freshman undergrad Maybe not the absolute best baby s first Freud book but I can t imagine one being better while also still being as academically rigorous yet compelling. Jonathan Lear Clearly Introduces And Assesses All Of Freud S Thought, Focusing On Those Areas Of Philosophy On Which Freud Is Acknowledged To Have Had A Lasting Impact These Include The Philosophy Of Mind, Free Will And Determinism, Rationality, The Nature Of The Self And Subjectivity, And Ethics And Religion He Also Considers Some Of The Deeper Issues And Problems Freud Engaged With, Brilliantly Illustrating Their Philosophical Significance Human Sexuality, The Unconscious, Dreams, And The Theory Of Transference Freud Is One Of The Most Important Introductions And Contributions To Understanding This Great Thinker To Have Been Published For Many Years, And Will Be Essential Reading For Anyone In The Humanities, Social Sciences And Beyond With An Interest In Freud Or Philosophy

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  • Paperback
  • 296 pages
  • Freud (The Routledge Philosophers)
  • Jonathan Lear
  • 13 November 2019
  • 9780415314510

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