1-Wittgenstein and Psychoanalysis
John M. Heaton
UK Publication May 2000
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 illusion and 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 are sensible people who 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 analysed 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 even a matter of ‘contest’ between them? John M. Heaton is a psychotherapist and one-time colleague of R.D. Laing.
2-Thomas Kuhn and the Science Wars
UK Publication May 2000
Not so long ago, we believed that science was a neutral, value-free quest for Truth. With The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), Thomas Kuhn opened science to scrutiny as a social activity. He reduced science to puzzle-solving within belief systems, suggesting that ‘normal’ science was nothing more than dogmatic stability punctuated by occasional revolutions. Sociologists of science went even further, arguing that scientists just ‘negotiate’ their agreements rather than being constrained by mythical ‘facts’. About a decade ago, the ‘Science Wars’ began with counter-attacks from scientists on the sociologists.
Thomas Kuhn and the Science Wars provides a penetrating analysis of this conflict. It shows how science has become a major contested cultural symbol, and suggests that we need a postmodern, ‘post-normal’ synthesis in which the old debates about ‘problem-solving’ and ‘objectivity’ are transcended. Science is not about demonstrations by experts, but dialogue among stakeholders. This is the new face of science, one which gives Kuhn’s seminal insights new life.
Ziauddin Sardar is a hugely renowned writer, broadcaster, journalist and critic. 'Britain's own Muslim polymath' (Independent) has become one of the UK's leading intellectuals and writes on a huge variety of subjects in numerous newspapers and magazines throughout the world. He is also Visiting Professor of Postcolonial Studies at the City University, London.
3-Baudrillard and the MillenniumChristopher Horrocks
UK Publication June 1999
In a sense, we do not believe in the Year 2000”, says French thinker Jean Baudrillard. Baudrillard’s analysis of ‘Y2K’ reveals a repentant culture intent on storing, mourning and laundering its past, and a world from which even the possibility of the ‘end of history’ has vanished. The millennium might not take place. Yet behind this bleak vision of integrated reality, Baudrillard identifies enigmatic possibilities and perhaps a final ironic twist.
Baudrillard and the Millennium confronts the strategies of this strange encounter with the greatest non-event of the postmodern age, and accounts for the critical censure of Baudrillard’s enterprise. Natural catastrophes, the body, ‘victim culture’, identity and Internet viruses, are all discussed in reference to the development of Jean Baudrillard’s millenarian thought from the 1980s to the threshold of the Year 2000 - from simulation to disappearance.
Christopher Horrocks is Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Design at Kingston University. His previous books includeIntroducing Baudrillard andBaudrillard and the Millennium (both published by Icon/Totem).