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Barratt, B.B. (1995). The Mind and Its Depths. By Richard Wollheim. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 1993, x + 214 pp., $24.95 (hardcover), $14.95 (paperback).. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 43:1233-1236.

(1995). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 43:1233-1236

The Mind and Its Depths. By Richard Wollheim. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 1993, x + 214 pp., $24.95 (hardcover), $14.95 (paperback).

Review by:
Barnaby B. Barratt

Professor Richard Wollheim is not only a substantial contributor to psychoanalytic thinking, he is also something of an intellectual rarity. Philosophers in the logical-analytic or empirical-analytic tradition (sometimes called “Anglo-American” in contrast to the Continental tradition) have only infrequently been interested in psychoanalysis; when their interests have turned in this direction, it has often been with a disdainful and ill-informed attitude, or with the careerist ambition to expose our multitude of shortcomings, even to proclaim the “death” of the discipline. By contrast, Wollheim has devoted a major portion of his career to the study of psychoanalytic thinking, and has done so in a manner that is consistently knowledgeable, lucid, and respectful, while not being uncritical. Yet he is an eminent British philosopher with rigorous training in the Anglo-American tradition, and he enjoys a strong reputation for his work on matters of art and topics in moral philosophy, much of which has been directly or indirectly enriched by his psychoanalytic knowledge.

Throughout his career Wollheim has contributed to the philosophical literature with distinction, producing several books on art and painting, a text on F.H. Bradley's ethical philosophy, and numerous lectures on issues of moral deliberation. Many psychoanalysts are familiar with Wollheim's 1971 text, Sigmund Freud, written for the “Modern Masters” series. It remains an outstanding introduction to its subject, a model of brevity, clarity, and well-balanced exposition.

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