Wittgenstein and Psychoanalysis

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Sigmund Freud and Ludwig Wittgenstein were contemporaries. Freud created psychoanalysis, and Wittgenstein was perhaps the greatest 20th century philosopher. Both thinkers are essentially concerned with our inveterate tendency to deceive ourselves. Freud approaches this problem from a psychiatric angle - the cure of neurosis, psychosis, perversion and so on. He assumes that his readers can see through the self-deceptions of the neurotics he describes. Wittgenstein, on the other hand, takes an ironical approach to himself and his readers, believing that we are almost certainly deluded, even if we have been analyzed by an orthodox analyst. He makes us feel that language, understanding and knowledge are but a thin net over an abyss. "Wittgenstein and Psychoanalysis" brings these two great, enormously influential Viennese thinkers together in the arena of a postmodern encounter. The question at issue is - which of these two philosophies is the better form of relevant "therapy" for us today? Or is it ever a matter of "contest" between them?

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