The Psy­cho­an­a­lyst’s Aver­sion to Proof

  • From the Publisher
January 1, 2013

Sig­mund Freud, one of the most famous Jews of the 20th cen­tu­ry, was proud of his Jew­ish her­itage, open­ly defi­ant of anti-Semi­tes, and at the same time famous­ly anti-reli­gious. He wrote a book of Jew­ish jokes, con­front­ed anti-Semi­tes on trains, insult­ed the Gestapo to their faces, and was con­stant­ly wary of anti-Semi­tism as a threat to the field of psy­chol­o­gy he cre­at­ed: psy­cho­analy­sis. This book explores how Freud’s fears about the public’s recep­tion of his con­tro­ver­sial work inter­fered with his efforts at sci­en­tif­ic proof. Psy­cho­analy­sis has now lost its pre-emi­nent sta­tus among the men­tal sci­ences, and must regain it in order to ful­fill its Enlight­en­ment mis­sion of reliev­ing humankind of its self-destruc­tive irra­tional­i­ty. Freud’s expe­ri­ence as a vul­ner­a­ble Jew in pre­war Europe is one of the keys to under­stand­ing the his­to­ry of psy­cho­analy­sis, and how it may still be redeemed.

Discussion Questions