German Essays on Psychology: Alfred Adler, Anna Freud, C.G. Jung, and Others (German Library) Reviews

German Essays on Psychology: Alfred Adler, Anna Freud, C.G. Jung, and Others (German Library)

German Essays on Psychology: Alfred Adler, Anna Freud, C.G. Jung, and Others (German Library)

Volume 62 of this ground-breaking 100 volume collection is organized into four sections: Psychology as Philosophy, Psychoanalysis and Its Critics, Research in Gestalt Psychology, and The Iconoclasts.A showcase of German-psychological thinkers and thought through the 20th century, this volume includes several new translations of articles by pyschologists whose work is rarely available in English.

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  1. Sarah Kamens said,

    Wrote on December 21, 2012 @ 12:44 am

    6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    a fantastic volume, November 16, 2003
    Sarah Kamens (New York, NY) –

    This review is from: German Essays on Psychology: Alfred Adler, Anna Freud, C.G. Jung, and Others (German Library) (Paperback)

    This volume is of essence for anyone interested in psychology, philosophy, and the innumerable intersections, cross-cuttings, and knots that make these two fields stiffly inseparable. Wolfgang Schirmacher’s selections are fantastic, and his introduction provides an inspiring and thought-provoking context in which to read the essays that follow. You won’t find such a collection anywhere else! If we are to understand the historical trends that have influenced the way in which we think about psychology, we must understand the thinkers in this volume.
    The book is divided into four sections. In the first, “Psychology as Philosophy,” we encounter Wilhelm Dilthey, Edmund Husserl, Eduard Spranger, and Wilhelm Wundt, each trying to define and revise the role of psychology within the sciences and the humanities. The second section, “Psychoanalysis and its Critics,” which includes essays by Alfred Adler, Anna Freud, Erich Fromm, Karen Horney, Carl Jung, and Wilhelm Reich, will be more familiar to students whose encounter with philosophical psychology has been primarily founded in psychoanalytic theory. For students of psychology, many of the ideas articulated by these thinkers have become so prevalent in the milieu that a rereading proves itself essential. An important addition to this section is the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, whose theories have come under attack in recent years by scholars influenced by postmodernism, who have pegged Jungian psychology with the four-letter-word `essentialism.’ A reexamination of these theories may prove them to be less determinate than at first glance. The third section of the volume is comprised of essays by Gestalt psychologists Chistian von Ehrenfels, Kurt Koffka, Wolfgang Köhler, Kurt Lewin, and Max Wertheimer. These essays, along with the writings of Wundt, have been, in the realm of experimental psychology, arguably the most influential of those included in this volume.
    Finally, the last section of the volume, “Iconoclasts in Psychology,” contains essays from a number of authors (Ludwig Binswanger, Karl Jaspers, Alexander Mitscherlich, Wilhelm Salber, and Erwin Straus) whose revolutionary theories have influenced, noticeably or not, psychologies more familiar to mainstream academics. Binswanger’s notion that “the neurotic, too,” can be brought back “down to earth” from Extravagance with the aid of a psychotherapist is a subtle reversal of terms, a theory perhaps more acceptable to clinicians who find Deleuze and Guattari (who have suggested that it is the neurotic, rather than the psychotic, who is incurable) abstruse. Salber’s notion of a “self-therapy of reality” is an incisive reminder that psychology’s basic questions have not yet been satisfactorily answered. Lastly, Straus’s exposition “On Being Awake,” provides a reevaluation of the Cartesian notion of dreams. Straus’s argument becomes uncannily reminiscent of the aforementioned debates concerning methodology.
    As Karl Jaspers points out, if the relation of empirical psychological pursuits and their philosophical counterparts is not conscious, this will lead to a confusion of the two spheres. It is no secret that the rational positivist position of experimental psychology has, especially in recent years, a problematic relationship to philosophical logic; the very philosophies professed to be inadequate or too “vague” for scientific pursuits are nevertheless incorporated into empirical endeavors, as if afterthoughts. The new “postmodern” psychotherapies (e.g., narrative therapy), for example, suddenly gained interest at the same time that philosophers began to contemplate what was (is) to happen as the postmodern era wanes. However, just because psychologists may be oblivious to society’s general philosophical sentiments doesn’t mean that patients are as well, and without the philosophical insights that are put through the (slower) laboratorial machinery, psychotherapists might remain waiting for empirical guidance that emerges years too late. The relevance of the articles presented in this volume is not only an issue of theoretical and statistical accuracy, but also a problem of practical integrity if we are not, as Schirmacher puts it, to treat humans as “better-suited rats.”

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