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Flugel, J.C. (1955). The Unconscious Origin of Berkeley's Philosophy: By Oulton Wisdom. International Psycho-Analytical Library No. 47. (London: Hogarth Press and Institute of Psycho-Analysis, 1953. Pp. xii + 244. 25 s.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 36:136-136.

(1955). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 36:136-136

The Unconscious Origin of Berkeley's Philosophy: By Oulton Wisdom. International Psycho-Analytical Library No. 47. (London: Hogarth Press and Institute of Psycho-Analysis, 1953. Pp. xii + 244. 25 s.)

Review by:
J. C. Flugel

Of the various attempts to illumine psycho-analytically the lives of historical figures few have dealt with philosophers, though some attempts in this direction are to be found in the earlier volumes of Imago. The author of this book, who is exceptionally qualified for the task, has already shown his interest in the subject in short studies of Descartes and Schopenhauer already published in this Journal. The present work on Berkeley is undoubtedly the most outstanding effort in this field. Indeed, in its scholarship, thoroughness and detailed clarity of presentation, it ranks among the most important applications of psycho-analytical insight to biographical and literary material. True, as the title indicates, it is a study of Berkeley's philosophy rather than of his life. Nevertheleys, since it endeavours to show how this philosophy was largely determined by the deepest strata of his psychic being, much light is thrown also on Berkeley the man, that remarkable combination of ecclesiastic, philosopher, mathematician, economist, tar-water enthusiast and would-be reformer of higher education.

The analysis of Berkeley's philosophy is recorded in 55 short 'interpretations', each summarizing in a few lines the results of the immediately preceding discussion. Berkeley's fundamental conflict, according to the author, lies in an ambivalent attitude to faeces, which he regarded as both 'good' and 'bad', though the bad aspects, felt as 'poison', predominated at the more conscious levels.

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