Alexander C. Kafka ‘reviews’ Frederick Crews’ Freud Biography. Or Crews vs. Kafka! American Writer comments

In Mr. Kafka’s review of Mr. Crews’ Freud biography, Kafka seems doubtful of Crews’ motives for giving Freud his final sendoff ! Quoting from the partisans/practitioners of contemporary Psychoanalysis, whose careful re-interpretations of that shopworn mythology, in the name of the rescue of the central insights into human behavior- those central insights not articulated, but hinted at, as the insights exercised by the Psychoanalyst. By way of a psychological metaphysic possessed by that omnipotent therapist. But that Analyst no longer being in possession of the Scientific framing provided by Freud’s Clinical Studies, that have been proven to be of no credible value, by more than two generation of scholars: this fracture of credibility is the central why of Crews’ doubt, he being among the many. Given this, why is the resort to a capacious , not to speak of a self-serving metaphysic, exercised by a benevolent Psychoanalyst at all surprising ?

But Crews’ final thoughts on Freud provide the answers, the reasons for the latter part of his long career as thinker and advocate in the Humanities: which Kant articulated as the self-emancipation from tutelage.

Says Crews: “Apart from any intellectual fuss that somebody like me could make, the system has been dying on the vine for decades. So that now, really, psychoanalysis survives in humanities departments not for any reason that one would call scientific or empirical but because the psychoanalytic way of thinking is conducive to discourse production, devoid of constraint.”

And what of the millions who have claimed some benefit from psychotherapy?

“Of course psychotherapy can be useful,” he replies. “It’s useful precisely to the degree that the patient’s contemporary situation is acknowledged and thoughtfully addressed. What’s questionable is therapy that’s designed to wrench the case into conformity with ‘deep’ prearranged ideas about the nature of the mind. Insofar as psychoanalysts have moved away from that paradigm, they may be doing just fine. But then, shouldn’t they stop citing Freud as their ultimate authority?”

American Writer

About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.'
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