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Dorpat, T.L. (1998). Wittgenstein Reads Freud: the Myth of the Unconscious. By Jacques Bouveresse. Translated by Carol Cosman. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995. 143 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 67(1):166-170.

(1998). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 67(1):166-170

Wittgenstein Reads Freud: the Myth of the Unconscious. By Jacques Bouveresse. Translated by Carol Cosman. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995. 143 pp.

Review by:
Theo L. Dorpat

Readers who are interested in philosophical critiques of Freud's writings will find what they are looking for in this book because it presents an informed commentary about all of Ludwig Wittgenstein's writings in which he examines Freud's contributions. In addition, this volume provides a discussion of the relevant German, English, and French philosophical literature on the topics in Freud's writings that Wittgenstein wrote about.

Of all of the philosophers who have written about Freud, Wittgenstein was one of the most well informed and incisive. He gives a balanced view when he acknowledges “Freud's extraordinary scientific achievement” (p. xix) and at the same time emphasizes how many parts of Freud's theory were far removed from science and instead close to mythology.

Freud was one of the few authors Wittgenstein thought worth reading. With Freud, he shared a common cultural background in Vienna. His sister Margareta was analyzed by Freud, and he admired Freud for his intelligence, his imagination, his inventiveness, and his ingenuity.

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