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Craib, I. (1986). Freud and philosophy. Free Associations, 1(4):64-79.

(1986). Free Associations, 1(4):64-79

Freud and philosophy

Ian Craib

Philosophical Essays on Freud, edited by Richard Wollheim and James Hopkins, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1982, Pp. 314 + 1v, pb, £7.50.

Perhaps it is best right at the begining to make it clear that I read this collection with a number of issues in mind which are far away from the concerns of the contributors. Most of the essays fall clearly into the tradition of Anglo-Saxon analytic philosophy and even the most obvious exception — Sartre's discussion of bad faith from Being and Nothingness — seems oddly at home. Most are written around two epistemological issues: the nature of science and the causal explanation of human action. My concerns are situated somewhere along a journey away from Marxism, a journey established and hastened by a theoretical and personal encounter with psychoanalysis. What brings the two together is the fact that my dissatisfaction with Marxism is on the same grounds as my dissatisfaction with many of these essays.

This is not to deny the importance of this book. It is good to see psychoanalysis taken seriously by a tradition of thought which in the past has all too easily dismissed it. The elegance and clarity of much analytic thought can be illuminating, and Adam Morton's lucid outline of the relationship between Little Hans and his father deserves special mention. It is also about time that the simplifications and misreadings in the Popper—Cioffi critique of psychoanalysis were subjected, as they are here, to a thoroughgoing criticism. I will deal with this later.

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