Wars against Freud were waged along virtually every front in the 1980s. In Freud and His Critics, Paul Robinson takes on three of Freud's most formidable detractors, mounting a thoughtful, witty, and ultimately devastating critique of the historian of science Frank Sulloway, the psychoanalyst Jeffrey Masson, and the philosopher Adolf Grünbaum.
Frank Sulloway contends that Freud took most of his ideas from Darwin and other contemporary thinkers—that he was something of a closet biologist. Jeffrey Masson charges that Freud caved in to peer pressure when he abandoned his early seduction theory (which Masson believes was correct) in favor of the theory of infantile sexuality. Adolf Grünbaum impugns Freud's claim to have grounded his ideas—especially the idea of the unconscious—on solid empirical foundations.
Under Robinson's rigorous cross-examination, the evidence of these three accusers proves ambiguous and their arguments biased by underlying assumptions and ideological commitments. Robinson concludes that the anti-Freudian writings of Sulloway, Masson, and Grünbaum reveal more about their authors' prejudices—and about the Zeitgeist of the 1980s—than they do about Freud. Indeed, they fundamentally distort and diminish Freud, pointedly ignoring his remarkable historical achievement—the invention of a new way of thinking about the self that has revolutionized the modern imagination.
This title is part of UC Press's Voices Revived program, which commemorates University of California Press’s mission to seek out and cultivate the brightest minds and give them voice, reach, and impact. Drawing on a backlist dating to 1893, Voices Revived makes high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarship accessible once again using print-on-demand technology. This title was originally published in 1993.