cover image Freud and His Critics

Freud and His Critics

Paul Robinson. University of California Press, $45 (281pp) ISBN 978-0-520-08029-4

In a witty, densely argued critique, Stanford University historian Robinson ( The Freudian Left ) levels the accusations of prominent anti-Freudians Frank Sulloway, Jeffrey Masson and Adolf Grunbaum. Sulloway, a sociobiologist, contends that Freud was a ``crypto-biologist'' whose ideas were rooted in evolutionary biology from Darwin to Edward O. Wilson. But the secret biological rationale Sulloway purports to find in Freud doesn't exist, counters Robinson. Former psychoanalyst Masson claims that psychoanalysis was founded through Freud's cowardly cover-up of his discoveries about the sexual abuse of children; Robinson faults Masson for a glaring lack of documentation. Grunbaum, a philosopher, charges that Freud's theories are inadequately supported by evidence, but Robinson replies that Freud refused to trim his imagination to suit the strict empirical canons of modern science. This corrective broadside is a valuable companion piece to Sulloway's Freud, Biologist of the Mind , Masson's The Assault on Truth and Grunbaum's The Foundations of Psychoanalysis. (Mar.)