9536 - Freud's Legacy: Three Critiques - One of the most virulent and extended attacks on Freud's theories was written by E. Fuller Torrey in his 1992 book, Freudian Fraud: The Malignant Effect of Freud's Theory on American Thought and Culture. Torrey, whose style is frequently ironic (modern psychotherapy is "the treatment of the id by the odd"), believes, among other things, that the work of Freud is "devoid of any scientific foundation" and that Freudianism has "remarkable similarities: with religious movements." The debate about Freud's legacy seemed to reach new heights of intensity in the 1990s, with a proliferation of articles in both the popular press (Time, November 29, 1993, "The Assault on Freud": "He invented psychoanalysis and revolutionized 20th century ideas about the life of the mind. And this is the thanks he gets?") and in other types of publications, such as Scientific American, December, 1996 ("Why Freud Isn't Dead"). Freud's ideas were, of course, controversial from the beginning.
The objective of this course is to examine some of the most interesting examples of work which criticizes and reformulates his ideas; and to answer some of the following broad questions: what gives psychoanalysis its potency? What is it about psychoanalysis that has made most major twentieth-century thinkers feel obliged to come to terms with it? What are the most significant examples of attempts to modify or reject it? How is it that Freud's work has summoned up such contradictory responses?
Also from this web page: