DISCOVERING THE MIND: Freud versus Adler and Sung by Walter Kaufmann

DISCOVERING THE MIND: Freud versus Adler and Sung

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A clue to understanding the late Princeton philosopher's approach in this final volume of his trilogy is the distinction he makes between erudition and scholarship. ""Erudition is extensive knowledge acquired chiefly from books,"" Kaufmann writes. ""Scholarship involves intellectual self-discipline which consists in the scrupulous consideration of objections and alternatives."" That passage is also a critique of Jung, whom Kaufmann sees as escaping into obscure byways of myth and religion to avoid what was ""up front""--a profound resentment toward the father: Jung's biological parson father, as well as the analytic father, Freud. The emphasis in Kaufmann's analyses of Adler and Jung is on their relationship to Freud and how they viewed the ruptures with him. German-born Kaufmann has examined the literature and letters (including the translations, where he pinpoints errors) and comes to conclusions that differ from some current visions and revisions. Both Jung and Adler greatly distorted reality, Kaufmann says; Jung, to the extent that he hallucinated that Freud had returned Jung's book on the libido unread with an inscription ""Resistance to the father"" scrawled on it. Adler? Well, Adler comes off as a man whose consuming insecurity and fear of isolation are mirrored in his important contribution of the notion of inferiority feelings (the converse of the Will to power). The extreme bitterness that ensued from Adler's rejection of psychoanalysis (Freud called him a disgusting person), along with the rancors of the Freud-Jung break, invest Kaufmann's scholarship with much drama, much Sturm und Drang. As before, he focuses on change and development in order to ""discover"" the minds he has chosen to explore. For him, Goethe, Nietzsche, and now Freud are heroes who avoided the Newtonian-Kantian traps of dualism and the later ""irreconcilable dichotomies"" of existentialism. Thus Freud is seen as following in Goethe's footsteps in creating a ""poetic science,"" and as a truly honest man, possessed of insights that Jung and Adler never attained. Yet Freud lacked the deep self-understanding of Nietzsche. Kaufmann is an original, opinionated, idiosyncratic thinker who can be irritating, repetitive, exasperating. But he communicates an excitement that makes one want to look again at each of his subjects, and to find out more.

Pub Date: June 7th, 1981
Publisher: McGraw-Hill