Why Freud Was Wrong

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Why Freud Was Wrong: Sin, Science and Psychoanalysis
Why Freud Was Wrong.jpg
The 2005 Orwell Press edition
Author Richard Webster
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Psychology
Published 1995 (The Orwell Press)
Media type Print
Pages 673 (2005 edition)
ISBN 0-9515922-5-4

Why Freud Was Wrong: Sin, Science and Psychoanalysis is a 1995 book by Richard Webster, a critique of Sigmund Freud and psychoanalysis.[1] Webster argues that Freud became a kind of Messiah and that psychoanalysis is a pseudo-science and a disguised continuation of the Judaeo-Christian tradition.[2] The book for which Webster may be best remembered,[1] Why Freud Was Wrong has been called "brilliant"[2][3] and "definitive",[4] but has also been criticized for perceived shortcomings of scholarship and argument.[5][6][7]

Summary[edit]

Webster argues that Freud became a kind of Messiah and that psychoanalysis is a pseudo-science and a disguised continuation of the Judaeo-Christian tradition.[2] He sees Freud as an impostor who sought to found a false religion.[8] However, Webster also writes that, "My ultimate goal is not to humiliate Freud or to inflict mortal injury either on him or his followers. It is to interpret and illuminate his beliefs and his personality in order that we may better understand our own culture, our own history, and indeed, our own psychology. It is to this constructive attempt to analyse the nature and sources of Freud's mistakes that my title primarily refers."[9]

Gilbert Ryle's arguments against mentalist philosophies in The Concept of Mind (1949) are endorsed by Webster, who suggests that they imply that "theories of human nature which repudiate the evidence of behaviour and refer solely or primarily to invisible mental events will never in themselves be able to unlock the most significant mysteries of human nature."[10]

Scholarly reception[edit]

Why Freud Was Wrong has been called "brilliant"[2][3] and "definitive",[4] but has also been criticized for perceived shortcomings of scholarship and argument.[5][7] Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson criticized Webster for blaming him for the current interest in recovered memories.[6]

Translations[edit]

Why Freud Was Wrong has been translated into French, Spanish, Portuguese and Hungarian.[11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Woffinden 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d Storr 1996. p. 131.
  3. ^ a b Gathorne-Hardy 2005. p. 92.
  4. ^ a b Tallis 1999. p. 457.
  5. ^ a b Swales 1995.
  6. ^ a b Masson 1998. pp. 320-321.
  7. ^ a b Showalter 1997. pp. 41, 45.
  8. ^ Robertson 1999. p. xxx.
  9. ^ Webster 2005. p. vii.
  10. ^ Webster 2005. p. 483.
  11. ^ Webster 2011.

Bibliography[edit]

Books
  • Gathorne-Hardy, Jonathan (2005). Kinsey: A Biography. London: Pimlico. ISBN 1-84413-836-4. 
  • Masson, Jeffrey (1998). The Assault on Truth: Freud’s Suppression of the Seduction Theory. New York: Pocket Books. ISBN 0-671-02571-6. 
  • Robertson, Ritchie; Freud, Sigmund (1999). The Interpretation of Dreams. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-210049-1. 
  • Showalter, Elaine (1997). Hystories: Hysterical Epidemics and Modern Culture. London: Macmillan Publishers. ISBN 0-330-34670-9. 
  • Storr, Anthony (1996). Freud. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-282210-9. 
  • Tallis, Raymond (1999). Enemies of Hope: A Critique of Contemporary Pessimism. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 0-312-22417-6. 
  • Webster, Richard (2005). Why Freud Was Wrong: Sin, Science and Psychoanalysis. Oxford: The Orwell Press. ISBN 0-9515922-5-4. 
Online articles