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404Philosophy and Literature Psychoanalysis and Ethics, by Ernest Wallwork; xiv Sc 345 pp. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1991, $35.00. Despite the widely held view that Freud was indifferent, ifnot actually hostile, to ethics and morality, Ernest Wallwork, a professor of ethics and a psychoanalyst , argues that Freudian theory allows for the possibility ofgenuinely ethical and moral behavior in human beings. Freud stressed the pervasiveness of unconscious determinants—mainly aggressive instincts and narcissism—in human behavior. The concept of self divided against itself is central to Freudian theory. The unconscious makes continual demands that the harried, overworked and often confused conscious, or ego, can never satisfy. And yet, as Wallwork points out, Freud's view is not utterly bleak. Adapting for his own purposes Plato's famous image of the psyche as a charioteer who guides and reins in the passions and appetites, Freud maintained that the rider (the ego) and the horse (the id) are two parts of the same self. Nevertheless, assuming that the rider is mature and experienced, he has at his disposal forces he can use to help transform the raw power of the animal into socially acceptable— and ulumately ego-enhancing—action. The ego, Freud wrote in his New Introductory Lectures (1933), "has the privilege of deciding on the goal and of guiding the powerful animal's movement" (SE, p. 77, emphasis added, cited byWallwork, p. 100). Wallwork discerns in Freudian theory three distinct models of the mind: the early trauma paradigm (1883-99), in which excitations produced by environmental circumstances (as in the seduction theory) are conveyed to the central nervous system, which then tries to rid itself of the stimulation; the drivedischarge model (1900-19), in which drives (basically the sexual instincts and the ego or self-preservative instincts that oppose sexuality) are determinative, environmental factors now being merely contingent; and finally, after 1920 (the pivotal text is Beyond the Pleasure Principle [1920]), a biologically oriented paradigm in which the instincts are thought ofas having long-range aims rather than the short-range aims characteristic of the mechanistic drive-discharge model. It is in the context of the long-range aims that human subjects come to understand that personal happiness is linked in innumerably subtle ways to the good of others. In his réévaluation of Freud's attitude towards ethics, Wallwork provides close textual analysis of several key Freudian concepts, especially the pleasure principle, narcissism, and object love, showing in each case how Freud grants human beings enough freedom to allow for moral agency. He points out several instances in which the English translation in the Standard Edition is inaccurate, making Freud seem more deterministic than he actually was. With careful attention to the details of the text, Wallwork gradually builds a strong case for a "humanistic" Freud who complements the more familiar "scientific" Freud. Reviews405 Here Freudian dieory engages with the thought of Plato, Hobbes, Kant, and J. S. Mill. Wallwork is remarkably successful in bringing together Freud's scattered reflections on freedom, autonomy, and moral responsibility, and in weaving them into a coherent account. Elegandy written and carefully argued, this book exposes the shallowness of the view that psychoanalysis is relendessly relativistic, amoral, deterministic, and egoistic. By demonstrating that moral considerations are inscribed in the texts that form the basis of psychoanalytic theory, itbridges the gap that has existed for far too longbetween psychoanalysis and ethics. Ohio State UniversityRobert D. Cottrell The Logical Basis ofMetaphysics, by Michael Dummett; xi & 355 pp. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1991, $34.95. Among contemporary philosophers of language, Michael Dummett's only peers may be Willard Quine and Donald Davidson. If his ideas have been less widely familiar or influential than theirs, this is due in part to the fact that his writing style, complex and diffuse, has proven forbidding to many; also, in large part, it is because to date Dummett has presented his thoughts about language primarily in the submerged form of a voluminous series of books and essays of commentary on the philosophy of Gotdob Frege. In some of the essays gathered in his Truth and OtherEnigmas (1978), and in subsequent writings yet uncollected, segments and aspects of the subtle tapestry of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 404-405
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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