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Wittgenstein on Freud and Frazer

  • Date Published: September 1998
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521593076

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  • What is it that troubles and preoccupies us about the anxieties and anguishes of social and private life? Have advances in the disciplines of psychoanalysis, psychology or the social sciences in general ministered to our needs in these areas? In this forcefully argued collection of essays, Frank Cioffi examines Wittgenstein's reflections on the comparative claims of clarification and empirical enquiry. Though writing out of admiration and indebtedness, he expresses reservations as to the limits Wittgenstein places on the relevance and desirability of empirical knowledge. His discusssions extend from Wittgenstein's reflections on human sacrifice and other ritual practices dealt with by Frazer to Freud's account of the sources of anxiety, depression, dreams and laughter. He asks both whether it is empirical investigation or more lucid reflection that these phenomena demand, and what kind of question this itself is.

    • Distinctive and astringent approach to some of Wittgenstein's most important writings
    • Deals with anthropology and psychoanalysis, from a philosophical point of view
    • Cioffi is an elegant and witty writer
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    Reviews & endorsements

    ' … the essays are excellent, both as interpretation and as criticism.' The Times Literary Supplement

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 1998
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521593076
    • length: 324 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.65kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction
    1. Information, contemplation and social life
    2. Aesthetic explanation and aesthetic perplexity
    3. Wittgenstein and the fire festivals
    4. When do empirical methods by-pass the problems which trouble us?
    5. Explanation, self-clarification and solace
    6. Wittgenstein on making homeopathic magic clear
    7. Wittgenstein and obscurantism
    8. Wittgenstein on Freud's 'abominable mess'
    9. Congenital transcendentalism and 'the loneliness which is the truth about things'
    Afterword
    10. Explanation and self-clarification in Frazer
    11. Explanation and self-clarification in Freud
    12. Conclusion: two cheers for the coroner's report.

  • Author

    Frank Cioffi, University of Kent, Canterbury

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