Online Dictionary of Mental Health
Top Ten Bestsellers (continuously updated): abuse, adhd, adoption, aging, aids, alcoholism, alternative medicine, anxiety disorders, autism, bipolar disorder, child development, child care, conversion disorders, counseling psychology, cults, death and dying, depression, dissociative disorders, domestic violence, dreams, eating disorders, forensic psychology, gay, lesbian & bisexual, grief, learning disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, parenting, personality disorders, professional counseling and psychotherapy, psychiatry, psychopathy, PTSD, rape, schizophrenia, sexual disorders, self-esteem, self-help, stress, suicide, violence.

[ HOME | A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z ]

 | What's new | Search | Guestbook | Feedback | Add Your URL |

Burying Freud

[ Burying Freud Homepage | Freud's Seduction Theory Homepage ]

Bernard X. Bovasso replied to my first long posting focussing on the question of lunacy, delusion, religion, etc. There is much in B.X. Bovasso's piece that I have sympathy for. I am happy that he has extended the debate to broader questions than the narrowly scientific. I am sorry that he misinterprets me as narrowly scientistic.


Dear Dr. O'Neil;
I certainly did not consider what you had to say "narrowly scientistic" for the simple reason that "scientistic" or "historicistic" and the nominalisms of Popperian logical fine slicing is not my cup of tea. If perhaps we are at odds it is more because of the approach of second hand Popperisms and the convenient pretense of "Logical empiricism" and a certain mode of thinking that has advanced itself more recently in the Structuralist manner and the Francologoid circle of Foucalt. Certainly it is not because of Freud that we disagree and whose naievete-- perhaps as his moat of defense-- with regard to the late European philosophical chess game of applied skeptical existentialism, allowed him to grasp with unfettered intuition at the psychological heart of the matter.

Fortunately, Freud stood apart from the convoluted tautologisms of such philosophical trends and thus managed to express his orignality and creative inovations in terms of *the psychological.* He was never a party to these boyish pastimes and penetrated past the games of logic grown men play be way of avoiding the trials and tribulations of manhood.

All that is academic enough from a psychological persepective (keeping in mind that Freud was first and foremost a psychologist). But i am not sure whether or not it has some bearing on what you observe when you note:

"I am not sure you can call his theory of race memory metaphysical, however. I think it was simply Lamarckian, and Lamarck, despite Darwin, was not yet entirely dead as a scientist (nor is he even today: his shadow continues to haunt much of psychology)."

Are you saying that a notion of conditionally acquired characteristics is not metaphysical? Does it "haunt much of psychology today" as much as Descartes notion of inante ideas? Has not such a notion degenerated as a literal concept of genetically ("racially") inherited memories or formed ideas without hardly an understanding of genetic predispositions that problematically (for the intellect) come between bios and psyche?

Has the simple Aristotelian distinction between *entelechia* (*qua facultas praeformandi*) and *morphe* been extinquished from the modern sensibility and a post-Popperian epistemology?

Would this have been observed in honor of Sir Karl's reduction of Plato and Platonic thought to totalitarian thinking, and which then in turn may have conditioned his assessment of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle? Need I add that both Heisenberg and Wolfgang Pauli (who proposed the neutrino) were taking a second look at Platonic ideas (more especially Plato's Timaeus and his notion of apriori stereometrics).

From the Popperian standpoint it is always after the fact of some giant creative leap that the "logical empiricism" is applied and the extravagances of such creative license is taken to task for its lack of logical consistancy. Such a narrow-- chronically aposteriori-- mentalistic approach indeed hobbles and aborts the creative faculty which from its boyish nit picking and anally fastidious logical puritanistic standpoint could only appear as "lunacy." Apparently "lunacy" means two different things to the each of us. You note, for example:

"I most emphatically did not draw the case that Freud could not be taken to account for lunatic notions simply because such notions may have been shared by a great number of people. Our apparent disagreement here is likely semantic. I took issue with the inappropriate use of lunacy. According to the semantic conventions I subscribe to, lunacy was a category mistake by Tallis: a wrong idea cannot be delusional if it is culturally shared. This means I also disagree with Freud who talks of illusion or delusion in connection with religion. A nonlunacy can still be entirely wrong. Even if it is not shared, it is not necessarily lunatic."

But doesn't this belabor-- no doubt in Popperian fashion-- the nature of creative intuition which is intrinsically irrational? Is this not part and parcel of Freud's "lunacy" and which from both the logician's standpoint and a public standpoint would be hard put to justify his curious exegesis in *Moses and Monotheism?* Indeed, you find it difficult to understand how the creative function works when you note:

"Think of Kepler s idea that the celestial spheres to which were attached the planets also enclosed the 5 perfect solids nested inside one another -- a perfectly lunatic idea. But we don t call it that. His idea was not impervious to evidence to the contrary. He then got it right, and paved the way for Newton."

What you say is strange on a number of accounts, the first being Popper's idea of science which he claims is not based in evidence but refutation. What matter's to him is not the probalbility of a theory but what it can explain. "For us," he notes, "science has nothing to do with the quest for certainty or probability or reliablity" (*Conjectures and Refutations*). This is a very Platonic and Kantian notion and which deviates from the strict empiricist notions of induction (qua B. Russell). Indeed, Popper prefers the purpose of science as the invention of theories!

Aside from that, the primordial basis to creative ideas must be accounted for, in this case, Kepler's nested solids and which is more akin to his adversary, the Alchemist Fludd, and Plato's stereometrics. But would you dismiss out of hand as "lunacy" the mythogenic precedents to what is eventually articulated in scientific format? Would this be a proper form of "positivistic correctness?" Would it conform, fully disposed of mythogenic loose ends, to a strict structuralist format? What is this positivism and structuralism that can only resolve in a bitter end but the trap of the thinker for whom thinking remains exclusively *sui generis.*

Is it along such lines that you take me to task when you say:

"Similarly, psychopathy is generally called sociopathy or antisocial these days, which is not what you mean to say-- again, semantic differences."

But that is precisely what I meant to call it-- "collective lunacy as political efficacy"-- however it is "generally called sociopathy or anti- social these days." No, I will not apologize for certain collective behaviour with medical explanations in *pathos* but fall back on a moral imperative. Popper, and his "methodological individualism" notwithstanding, notes in this regard: "*For the history of power politics is nothing but the history of international crime and mass murder*"

At this point I am disarmed! Whereas we may agree on the importance of Freud we are continents apart in our philosophical reckonings when you say:

"I agree that any historical evaluation (rather than validation) of Freud requires a perspective that does not limit him to the criteria of hard edge (classical) empirical science. But I also believe that you are entirely mistaken in construing the Popperian epistemology as utilitarian, or as obsolete. Most current epistemologies remain prePopperian. Popper has rendered THEM obsolete. So Popper is still very much alive. And I would suggest that you read Popper on utilitarianism."

Well, I am afraid I closed that door as a young man when I fell upon Kant and then Usesner and Cassirer. Neither would I follow Popper's notion that the uncertainty principle (of indefinite specification) is untenable simply because classical science is rift with uncertainties. He misses the point that the uncertainty has to do with non-molar (sub nuclear) phenomena and not the empirical objects of science per se. That is why I refer to him as "utilitarian" (and not in the sense of the British school of Utilitarianism). There remains, as such, a dangling and hardly objectified metaphor. It embodies the notions of Heisenberg and Pauli for a realm of discovery that is beyond ordinary experience, a metaphor, perhaps, that is shared by whatever we mean by *the unconscious* and its invisible (to the empircal sense and the right reason) reality.

It is here that Freud opened a door. Hardly did he "discover" (remembering von Hartmann!) the unconscious, but provided a psychodynamic articulated in praxis that allowed such a realm relevant to the personal reality as something more than another logical and structural category. And this psychodynamic does not abstractly rarify through the *ratio sui generis,* the thinking intellect for its own sake. It is immediately personal and thus does not preclude those moral imperatives by which the individual human survival, generation and continuity is possible.

In an age of culitvated nihilism, and its convenience of skeptical reductions, the "invisible realm" is justified as safely obscure and hence immune to the hardly Darwinian notion of the *teleos* of *bios.*

In view of what Freud and his total effort embodied-- both consciously and unconsciously-- it is thus a strange piece of good fortune that such exception has been taken to a fashionably superficial attempt to "bury Freud" but which is far less damaging than reducing him to a structural reality; that is, *nothing but* a bag of whitened, meatless bones fit only to rattle in the winds of mind.

Lastly-- and what should have been first-- I wish to apologize for how I generalized Sir Karl Popper. The rash generalization is perhaps a remnant from a youthful time when I found certain trends of thinking as far too constipating for my intellectual toilet retraining. Hegel, Marx and Lenin followed in this purging diarrhea. Subsequently, I discovered Greeks, very ancient and pre-Socratic ones, whose epistemic rigour has not been eclipsed, notwitstanding the Neitzschean rancour for Socrates and the folly of things Platonic as assessed by Popper. Accordingly, it is not possible for me to accept that an epistemology-- except it be reduced to an *ism* (ideology)-- can be rendered obsolete. That is, no more so than art or poetry, Insofar as the coming into being of an epistemic body of thought represents the incarnation of Mind (*Nous*).

At this point I may just as well 'fess up-- as if you hadn't really noticed!-- my peculiar necessity for such a view. I am neither a practicing psychologist or a professional philosopher but since memory serves, a painter and a poet. Ah, ha! So there you say-- I am allowed, along with Dr. Freud, my lunacy, cresent as it is, and no less bent to the materia prima of my creative scatologisms!

And since we dabble, tilt and defend in the history of Freud, each vestured in our own brand of hybris, there is something to remind, no less from Popper himself:

Instead of posing as prophets we must become the makers of our fate. We must learn to do things as well as we can, and to look out for our mistakes. And when we have dropped the idea that the history of power will be our judge, when we have given up worrying about whether or not history will justify us, then one day perhaps we may succeed in getting power under control. In this way we may even justify history, in our turn. It badly need such justification.

(from Popper's *Has History Any Meaning?* in *Open Society and its Enemies,* Princeton Univ. Press, 1950)

Bernard X. Bovasso


human-nature.com
Ian Pitchford and Robert M. Young - Last updated: 28 May, 2005 02:29 PM

US -
 Search:
Keywords:  

Amazon.com logo

UK -
 Search:
Keywords:  

Amazon.co.uk logo

 | Human Nature | The Human Nature Daily Review | Psychiatry Research Online |

Burying Freud

[ Burying Freud Homepage | Freud's Seduction Theory Homepage ]

Bernard X. Bovasso replied to my first long posting focussing on the question of lunacy, delusion, religion, etc. There is much in B.X. Bovasso's piece that I have sympathy for. I am happy that he has extended the debate to broader questions than the narrowly scientific. I am sorry that he misinterprets me as narrowly scientistic.


Dear Dr. O'Neil;
I certainly did not consider what you had to say "narrowly scientistic" for the simple reason that "scientistic" or "historicistic" and the nominalisms of Popperian logical fine slicing is not my cup of tea. If perhaps we are at odds it is more because of the approach of second hand Popperisms and the convenient pretense of "Logical empiricism" and a certain mode of thinking that has advanced itself more recently in the Structuralist manner and the Francologoid circle of Foucalt. Certainly it is not because of Freud that we disagree and whose naievete-- perhaps as his moat of defense-- with regard to the late European philosophical chess game of applied skeptical existentialism, allowed him to grasp with unfettered intuition at the psychological heart of the matter.

Fortunately, Freud stood apart from the convoluted tautologisms of such philosophical trends and thus managed to express his orignality and creative inovations in terms of *the psychological.* He was never a party to these boyish pastimes and penetrated past the games of logic grown men play be way of avoiding the trials and tribulations of manhood.

All that is academic enough from a psychological persepective (keeping in mind that Freud was first and foremost a psychologist). But i am not sure whether or not it has some bearing on what you observe when you note:

"I am not sure you can call his theory of race memory metaphysical, however. I think it was simply Lamarckian, and Lamarck, despite Darwin, was not yet entirely dead as a scientist (nor is he even today: his shadow continues to haunt much of psychology)."

Are you saying that a notion of conditionally acquired characteristics is not metaphysical? Does it "haunt much of psychology today" as much as Descartes notion of inante ideas? Has not such a notion degenerated as a literal concept of genetically ("racially") inherited memories or formed ideas without hardly an understanding of genetic predispositions that problematically (for the intellect) come between bios and psyche?

Has the simple Aristotelian distinction between *entelechia* (*qua facultas praeformandi*) and *morphe* been extinquished from the modern sensibility and a post-Popperian epistemology?

Would this have been observed in honor of Sir Karl's reduction of Plato and Platonic thought to totalitarian thinking, and which then in turn may have conditioned his assessment of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle? Need I add that both Heisenberg and Wolfgang Pauli (who proposed the neutrino) were taking a second look at Platonic ideas (more especially Plato's Timaeus and his notion of apriori stereometrics).

From the Popperian standpoint it is always after the fact of some giant creative leap that the "logical empiricism" is applied and the extravagances of such creative license is taken to task for its lack of logical consistancy. Such a narrow-- chronically aposteriori-- mentalistic approach indeed hobbles and aborts the creative faculty which from its boyish nit picking and anally fastidious logical puritanistic standpoint could only appear as "lunacy." Apparently "lunacy" means two different things to the each of us. You note, for example:

"I most emphatically did not draw the case that Freud could not be taken to account for lunatic notions simply because such notions may have been shared by a great number of people. Our apparent disagreement here is likely semantic. I took issue with the inappropriate use of lunacy. According to the semantic conventions I subscribe to, lunacy was a category mistake by Tallis: a wrong idea cannot be delusional if it is culturally shared. This means I also disagree with Freud who talks of illusion or delusion in connection with religion. A nonlunacy can still be entirely wrong. Even if it is not shared, it is not necessarily lunatic."

But doesn't this belabor-- no doubt in Popperian fashion-- the nature of creative intuition which is intrinsically irrational? Is this not part and parcel of Freud's "lunacy" and which from both the logician's standpoint and a public standpoint would be hard put to justify his curious exegesis in *Moses and Monotheism?* Indeed, you find it difficult to understand how the creative function works when you note:

"Think of Kepler s idea that the celestial spheres to which were attached the planets also enclosed the 5 perfect solids nested inside one another -- a perfectly lunatic idea. But we don t call it that. His idea was not impervious to evidence to the contrary. He then got it right, and paved the way for Newton."

What you say is strange on a number of accounts, the first being Popper's idea of science which he claims is not based in evidence but refutation. What matter's to him is not the probalbility of a theory but what it can explain. "For us," he notes, "science has nothing to do with the quest for certainty or probability or reliablity" (*Conjectures and Refutations*). This is a very Platonic and Kantian notion and which deviates from the strict empiricist notions of induction (qua B. Russell). Indeed, Popper prefers the purpose of science as the invention of theories!

Aside from that, the primordial basis to creative ideas must be accounted for, in this case, Kepler's nested solids and which is more akin to his adversary, the Alchemist Fludd, and Plato's stereometrics. But would you dismiss out of hand as "lunacy" the mythogenic precedents to what is eventually articulated in scientific format? Would this be a proper form of "positivistic correctness?" Would it conform, fully disposed of mythogenic loose ends, to a strict structuralist format? What is this positivism and structuralism that can only resolve in a bitter end but the trap of the thinker for whom thinking remains exclusively *sui generis.*

Is it along such lines that you take me to task when you say:

"Similarly, psychopathy is generally called sociopathy or antisocial these days, which is not what you mean to say-- again, semantic differences."

But that is precisely what I meant to call it-- "collective lunacy as political efficacy"-- however it is "generally called sociopathy or anti- social these days." No, I will not apologize for certain collective behaviour with medical explanations in *pathos* but fall back on a moral imperative. Popper, and his "methodological individualism" notwithstanding, notes in this regard: "*For the history of power politics is nothing but the history of international crime and mass murder*"

At this point I am disarmed! Whereas we may agree on the importance of Freud we are continents apart in our philosophical reckonings when you say:

"I agree that any historical evaluation (rather than validation) of Freud requires a perspective that does not limit him to the criteria of hard edge (classical) empirical science. But I also believe that you are entirely mistaken in construing the Popperian epistemology as utilitarian, or as obsolete. Most current epistemologies remain prePopperian. Popper has rendered THEM obsolete. So Popper is still very much alive. And I would suggest that you read Popper on utilitarianism."

Well, I am afraid I closed that door as a young man when I fell upon Kant and then Usesner and Cassirer. Neither would I follow Popper's notion that the uncertainty principle (of indefinite specification) is untenable simply because classical science is rift with uncertainties. He misses the point that the uncertainty has to do with non-molar (sub nuclear) phenomena and not the empirical objects of science per se. That is why I refer to him as "utilitarian" (and not in the sense of the British school of Utilitarianism). There remains, as such, a dangling and hardly objectified metaphor. It embodies the notions of Heisenberg and Pauli for a realm of discovery that is beyond ordinary experience, a metaphor, perhaps, that is shared by whatever we mean by *the unconscious* and its invisible (to the empircal sense and the right reason) reality.

It is here that Freud opened a door. Hardly did he "discover" (remembering von Hartmann!) the unconscious, but provided a psychodynamic articulated in praxis that allowed such a realm relevant to the personal reality as something more than another logical and structural category. And this psychodynamic does not abstractly rarify through the *ratio sui generis,* the thinking intellect for its own sake. It is immediately personal and thus does not preclude those moral imperatives by which the individual human survival, generation and continuity is possible.

In an age of culitvated nihilism, and its convenience of skeptical reductions, the "invisible realm" is justified as safely obscure and hence immune to the hardly Darwinian notion of the *teleos* of *bios.*

In view of what Freud and his total effort embodied-- both consciously and unconsciously-- it is thus a strange piece of good fortune that such exception has been taken to a fashionably superficial attempt to "bury Freud" but which is far less damaging than reducing him to a structural reality; that is, *nothing but* a bag of whitened, meatless bones fit only to rattle in the winds of mind.

Lastly-- and what should have been first-- I wish to apologize for how I generalized Sir Karl Popper. The rash generalization is perhaps a remnant from a youthful time when I found certain trends of thinking as far too constipating for my intellectual toilet retraining. Hegel, Marx and Lenin followed in this purging diarrhea. Subsequently, I discovered Greeks, very ancient and pre-Socratic ones, whose epistemic rigour has not been eclipsed, notwitstanding the Neitzschean rancour for Socrates and the folly of things Platonic as assessed by Popper. Accordingly, it is not possible for me to accept that an epistemology-- except it be reduced to an *ism* (ideology)-- can be rendered obsolete. That is, no more so than art or poetry, Insofar as the coming into being of an epistemic body of thought represents the incarnation of Mind (*Nous*).

At this point I may just as well 'fess up-- as if you hadn't really noticed!-- my peculiar necessity for such a view. I am neither a practicing psychologist or a professional philosopher but since memory serves, a painter and a poet. Ah, ha! So there you say-- I am allowed, along with Dr. Freud, my lunacy, cresent as it is, and no less bent to the materia prima of my creative scatologisms!

And since we dabble, tilt and defend in the history of Freud, each vestured in our own brand of hybris, there is something to remind, no less from Popper himself:

Instead of posing as prophets we must become the makers of our fate. We must learn to do things as well as we can, and to look out for our mistakes. And when we have dropped the idea that the history of power will be our judge, when we have given up worrying about whether or not history will justify us, then one day perhaps we may succeed in getting power under control. In this way we may even justify history, in our turn. It badly need such justification.

(from Popper's *Has History Any Meaning?* in *Open Society and its Enemies,* Princeton Univ. Press, 1950)

Bernard X. Bovasso


human-nature.com
Ian Pitchford and Robert M. Young - Last updated: 28 May, 2005 02:29 PM

US -
 Search:
Keywords:  

Amazon.com logo

UK -
 Search:
Keywords:  

Amazon.co.uk logo

 | Human Nature | The Human Nature Daily Review | Psychiatry Research Online |