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Saul, L.J. (1944). Goals and Desires of Man: By Paul Schilder. New York: Columbia University Press, 1942. 305 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 13:219-222.
(1944). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 13:219-222
Goals and Desires of Man: By Paul Schilder. New York: Columbia University Press, 1942. 305 pp.
Review by: Leon J. Saul
The subtitle of this book—A Psychological Survey of Life—indicates the scope of the project. This volume is the third of a trilogy, following The Image and Appearance of the Human Body (London, 1928) and Mind: Perception and Thought in Their Constructive Aspects. It concludes the author's plan of presenting a unified view and critique of the whole field of psychology and is an expression of his personal point of view and experience. Although it is much concerned with the ideas of Freud, it is not a presentation of his contributions nor of present-day psychoanalytic thought and knowledge. It is not a good book for beginners, but only for those who have sufficient knowledge and perspective in this field to make critical evaluations.
After a consideration of the concept of biography and reality, the author reviews such vital topics and problems as: Aggression and the Openings of the Body, Superiority and Inferiority and the Structure of Society, Attitudes toward Death, Infantile Sexuality, Problems of Homosexuality, Masculine and Feminine, Ideologies, Work, Morals. In the discussions of these topics the goals and desires of man are not dealt with specifically.
The views of others, especially Freud, are presented and freely judged. Often these judgments are rather dogmatic and the reasons behind the conclusions to which the author objects, as well as those behind his own position, are not always fully expounded. His own conclusions represent 'the principles governing these investigations and their results'. Some of them will convey something of the content and flavor of the book.
Almost all modern psychologists, as Freud, Jung, and Adler, approach the problem from the point of view of naïve realism, and they are right in doing so. In the Philosophy of Dewey and Russell this problem has found a more exact formulation. In Freud's writings and in the writings of many analysts, the bona fide acknowledgment of reality is impaired by the tendency to put too great emphasis on the projection mechanism.
It is Freud's merit to have emphasized the principle of causality in psychic life. He has applied this principle too rigidly. The only psychoanalytic paper based upon the achievements of modern physics, which doubts the complete determination in psychic life, is the paper by Sandor Rado. It is a very timid doubt.
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