May 1963

Neo-Freudian Social Philosophy

Author Affiliations

By Martin Birnbach. Price, $6. Pp. 283. Stanford University Press, Stanford, Calif, 1961.

Arch Intern Med. 1963;111(5):680. doi:10.1001/archinte.1963.03620290146031

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This is one of the rare occasions when I received a volume to review which was so stimulating and pregnant with provocative ideas that it was impossible to put the book down until it was completed. Mr. Birnbach, a political scientist, systematically examines the theories, individually and collectively, of the group who carry the neofreudian rubric. This is not just another volume but a scholarly appraisal of such questions as man's relation to society, society's impact on man, and the hopes of Western man.

The neofreudian rubric refers to a group of cultural psychoanalysts who see man as operating in a social field, whose character is determined by his competence in his interpersonal transactions. This formulation is at variance with the biological orientation of Freud, who described man as being the result of the vicissitudes of his libido, itself determined by ontogenetic and phylogenetic factors. The author adumbrates the work

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