"It was foreordained that Hegel, partisan of the concept, should find his maturest thinking take the form of an encyclopedia, the all-inclusive circular system whose prime significance lies precisely in circling around forever within itself, the system as system."— Werner Marx, The Philosophy of F. W. J. Schelling, page x.
Though I now have relatively little interest in creating new articles for Wikipedia, there was a time when I was very active in starting articles about books, usually serious works of non-fiction. I enjoy helping to improve Wikipedia's coverage of non-fiction books, motivated by the hope, which I have seen others express, that a better educated world would be a better world. Books about the origins of sexual orientation have been one of Wikipedia's weak areas. There were almost no articles about such books until I started creating them, and the few that did exist were almost all about books dating to the 1940s or 1950s, such as the Kinsey Reports or Clellan S. Ford and Frank A. Beach's Patterns of Sexual Behavior. Among the articles I started is that on Sexual Preference (1981). It is the article I have made the largest number of edits to (well over a thousand). It was promoted to good article status on August 12, 2016. Thanks to assistance from several helpful editors, I got the article on The Homosexual Matrix (1975) to good article status on February 17, 2017.
I started articles about the following books: A Brief History of Blasphemy • A Critique of Pure Tolerance • A General Theory of Exploitation and Class • A History of the Mind • A Separate Creation • Adversus Valentinianos • An Essay on Marxian Economics • An Essay on the Nature and Immutability of Truth • An Inquiry into the Good • An Introduction to Karl Marx • An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion • Analyzing Marx • Anticlimax • Appearance and Reality • Art and Scholasticism • Aspects of Scientific Explanation and other Essays in the Philosophy of Science • Before Pastoral • Christianity not Mysterious • Discourse, Figure • Erkenntnis und wissenschaftliches Verhalten • Essays in Self-criticism • Essays on Truth and Reality • Ethical Relativity • Ethics • For Marx • Foucault • Foundations of the Science of Knowledge • Frege: Philosophy of Language • Frege: Philosophy of Mathematics • Freud: His Life and His Mind • Freud: The Mind of the Moralist • Freud and Philosophy • Freud Evaluated • Freud, Biologist of the Mind • From Disgust to Humanity • From Hegel to Nietzsche • From the Acting to the Seeing • Gay Marriage • Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why • Growing Up Straight by George Alan Rekers • Growing Up Straight by Peter and Barbara Wyden • History, Labour, and Freedom • Homosexual Behaviour: Therapy and Assessment • Homosexualities: A Study of Diversity Among Men and Women • Homosexuality: An Annotated Bibliography • Homosexuality: A Philosophical Inquiry • Homosexuality: A Psychoanalytic Study of Male Homosexuals • Homosexuality: Disease or Way of Life? • Homosexuality and the Western Christian Tradition • Hormones and Brain Differentiation • Human Sexuality • Intention • Interpretation and Social Criticism • Is Homosexuality a Menace? • Karl Marx: His Life and Environment • Karl Marx: His Life and Thought • Karl Marx: The Story of His Life • Karl Marx and the Close of His System • Karl Marx's Theory of Revolution • Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays • Les Illusions de la Psychanalyse • Lesbian Poetry: An Anthology • Lesbian/Woman • Lessons on the Analytic of the Sublime • Liberalism and the Limits of Justice • Libidinal Economy • Logical Investigations • Logik • Love's Body • Main Currents of Marxism • Making Sense of Marx • Male Homosexuality in Four Societies • Marx after Sraffa • Marx and Modern Economics • Marx in the Mid-Twentieth Century • Marx's Concept of Man • Marx's Theory of Alienation • Marx's Theory of Ideology • Marxism: An Historical and Critical Study • Marxism and Morality • Marxism and the Oppression of Women • Meaning and Necessity • Metaphysical Disputations • Natural Law and Natural Rights • Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist • Oedipus in the Trobriands • On the Content and Object of Presentations • One Hundred Years of Homosexuality • Organization of Behavior • Patriarcha • Perceiving God • Phaedon • Philosophical Problems of Space and Time • Philosophy of Natural Science • Philosophy of the Unconscious • Play and Aggression: A Study of Rhesus Monkeys • Pregnancy, Birth and Abortion • Principles of the Theory of Probability • Psyche • Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint • Reason and Morality • Religion and Nothingness • Sex Offenders • Sexual Desire • Sexual Preference • Shaping Your Child's Sexual Identity • Shelley: A Life Story • Spinoza • Studies in the Labour Theory of Value • Studies on Marx and Hegel • That Nothing Is Known • The AIDS War • The Anita Bryant Story • The Assault on Truth • The Cambridge Companion to Marx • The Concept of Nature in Marx • The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology • The David Kopay Story • The Degrees of Knowledge • The Development of the Monist View of History • The Dialectic of Sex • The Differend • The Emergence of Probability • The Evolution of Human Sexuality • The Formation of the Economic Thought of Karl Marx • The Foundations of Psychoanalysis • The Freudian Fallacy • The Great Mother • The History of Human Marriage • The Homosexual Matrix • The Industrial Vagina • The Language of Music • The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud • The Man of Reason • The Man Who Wrote Frankenstein • The Marxists • The Memory Wars • The Mismeasure of Desire • The Origin and Development of the Moral Ideas • The Origins and History of Consciousness • The Person and the Common Good • The Philosophy of 'As if' • The Principle of Hope • The Sceptical Feminist • The Sexual Brain • The Social and Political Thought of Karl Marx • The Spinster and Her Enemies • The Structure of Iki • The Structure of Science • The Taming of Chance • The Theory of Capitalist Development • The Theory of Good and Evil • The Unconscious before Freud • The Young Hegelians and Karl Marx • Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World • Thought and Action • Western Marxism • What is Philosophy? • Who Stole Feminism? • Why Freud Was Wrong.
Articles that I rewrote include: Counterrevolution and Revolt • Critique of Dialectical Reason • Decline and Fall of the Freudian Empire • Freud: A Life for Our Time • Growing Up Absurd • History and Class Consciousness • Inner Experience • Irrational Man • Knowledge and Human Interests • Life Against Death • Marx and Human Nature: Refutation of a Legend • Nietzsche and Philosophy • Philosophical Explanations • Reading Capital • Reason and Revolution • Spinoza: Practical Philosophy • The Discovery of the Unconscious • The Myth of Mental Illness • The Primal Scream • The Trauma of Birth • Thinkers of the New Left • Violence and the Sacred.
Of the books mentioned above, those I find most interesting or useful are A Critique of Pure Tolerance, Foucault, Freud: A Life for Our Time, Freud Evaluated, Homosexuality: A Psychoanalytic Study of Male Homosexuals, Irrational Man, Life Against Death, Love's Body, Main Currents of Marxism, Marx and Human Nature: Refutation of a Legend, Nietzsche and Philosophy, Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint, Reason and Revolution, Sexual Desire, Shelley: A Life Story, Spinoza, Spinoza: Practical Philosophy, The AIDS War, The Discovery of the Unconscious, The Evolution of Human Sexuality, The Foundations of Psychoanalysis, The Homosexual Matrix, The Man Who Wrote Frankenstein, The Mismeasure of Desire, The Philosophy of 'As if', The Primal Scream, The Trauma of Birth, Violence and the Sacred, Who Stole Feminism?, and Why Freud Was Wrong.
Since I have started many articles dealing with books about Freud or psychoanalysis, I will mention that I have benefited from reading two crucial relevant articles, "Repression" by Donald W. MacKinnon and William F. Dukes, and "Freud, Kepler, and the clinical evidence", by the philosopher of science Clark Glymour. Psychoanalysis is a subject about which much is written, and I make no attempt to read most of it, being reasonably confident that I am not missing anything special. I have read enough to realize that these two articles stand out amidst a vast literature and are of the highest level of importance. I would like to introduce them to those who may not be already familiar with them. The article by MacKinnon and Dukes was published in Psychology in the Making, a 1962 anthology edited by Leo Postman. Glymour's article was first published in 1974 in Freud: A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by Richard Wollheim, and in 1982 reprinted with a new afterword in Philosophical essays on Freud, edited by Wollheim and James Hopkins. I first read Glymour's article, which effectively disposes of some common fallacies involved in efforts to test psychoanalytic hypotheses, succinctly summarizing problems that had been noted as long ago as the 1930s. That article then drew me to the earlier article by MacKinnon and Dukes.
MacKinnon and Dukes relate the history of attempts to test psychoanalytic theories about repression in the United States, a history that, as they describe it, may strike some as a kind of comedy of errors, involving as it does one misunderstanding after another by the would-be testers of psychoanalytic theory. In their final implications, however, these misunderstandings, for reasons I intend to fully explain, seem to me far more tragic than comic. As MacKinnon and Dukes observe, by about 1930, American psychologists had begun to attempt to study repression in the experimental laboratory. Rather than immediately trying to develop new techniques designed to test psychoanalytic assertions, they "searched the psychological literature to see if by chance some experiments undertaken to test other theoretical assertions might not incidentally throw light on the validity" of repression and other psychoanalytic concepts.
One of those who did so was H. Meltzer, but according to MacKinnon and Dukes, Meltzer, due to being "not thoroughly versed in psychoanalytic writing", misinterpreted Freud's view that the purpose of repression is to avoid "unpleasure", taking the term to mean simply something unpleasant, whereas for Freud it actually meant deep-rooted anxiety. Nevertheless, Meltzer helped to call attention to various shortcomings in the studies he reviewed, such as their insufficient controls, their small number of subjects, and their lack of representative sampling of stimulus situations. Meltzer also "recognized that most of the investigations which he reviewed had not been designed specifically to test the Freudian theory of repression." The psychologist Saul Rosenzweig maintained in 1934 that the studies Meltzer reviewed were flawed in that they involved "sensory stimuli unrelated to the theory of repression". MacKinnon and Dukes write that those psychologists who wanted to study repression "faced the necessity of becoming clear about the details of the psychoanalytic formulation of repression if their researches were to be adequate tests of the theory" but discovered "that to grasp clearly even a single psychoanalytic concept was an almost insurmountable task."
Psychoanalysts judged attempts to experimentally test repression a failure, rejecting them on the "sweeping grounds that whatever else these researches might be they simply were not investigations of repression." When Rosenzweig sent Freud reports of his attempts to study repression, he discovered that Freud, though politely feigning interest, actually could not care less. Freud wrote back that he had examined Rosenzweig's "experimental studies for the verification of the psychoanalytic assertions", but that he could not "put much value on these confirmations because the wealth of reliable observations on which these assertions rest make them independent of experimental verification." While Freud himself considered studies like Rosenzweig's useless and unnecessary, but not actually harmful, most other psychoanalysts became convinced that the studies harmfully "misrepresented what psychoanalysts conceived repression to be." By presenting the views of psychoanalysts as being other than they are, they obfuscated matters.
Citing MacKinnon and Dukes, Glymour observes that psychoanalysts have argued that experimental attempts to test psychoanalytic ideas often involve testing hypotheses that are "no more than surrogates for the genuine article" and that "inferences from the falsity of such ersatz hypotheses to the falsity of psychoanalysis are not legitimate." Glymour took a small, but crucial and decisive, step beyond MacKinnon and Dukes by recognizing that the problems involved with testing psychoanalytic hypotheses about repression they had discussed also apply to testing psychoanalytic hypotheses in general, a fact with wide-ranging yet largely unrecognized repercussions. Despite the fact that it is, in principle, not in the least difficult to understand, the importance of this contribution by Glymour has unfortunately never been fully appreciated. It is so far from being appreciated that one can even point to a prominent case where mistaken claims that scholars would not be making had they read their Glymour form part of an entrenched orthodoxy.
My editing history
The userbox stating that I have made more than 108,000 edits reflects the number of edits I have made with all accounts and IPs. The breakdown is as follows: 73,535 edits as FreeKnowledgeCreator (as of May 16, 2017), 29,256 edits as Polisher of Cobwebs, 4,251 edits as ImprovingWiki, and an additional 1199 edits from various IP addresses. Combined account edits
|The Copyeditor's Barnstar|
|Great job in taking The Homosexual Matrix to GA 7&6=thirteen (☎) 13:58, 28 February 2017 (UTC)|