Tagged: People

Erich Neumann: Depth Psychology and a New Ethic.

Erich Neumann (1905-1960) was born in Berlin. He received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in 1927 and then continued to study medicine at the University of Berlin. He met C.G. Jung first in 1933, at a seminar Jung was conducting in Berlin. Jung was fifty-seven years old and already famous for his own brand of psychotherapy. The two men started a correspondence that would continue until Neumann’s death in 1960. A lifelong Zionist, Neumann fled Nazi Germany with his family and settled in Tel Aviv in 1934, where he would become the founding father of analytical psychology...

Michel Foucault

Foucault (1926 – 1984) was a French philosopher, historian of ideas, social theorist, and literary critic. He theorized the relationship between power and knowledge, and examined the forms of social control through societal institutions. He is often considered to be a post-structuralist and postmodernist, but he preferred to think of his work as a critical history of modernity. Here is a biographical sketch from the Stanford Encyclopedia article, as well as a timeline of his life. Biographical Sketch “Foucault was born in Poitiers, France, on October 15, 1926. His student years seem to have been psychologically tormented but were intellectually brilliant. He...

Lacan’s Life

The following chronology of Lacan’s life and work is based on a list of dates, publications, and events, assembled by the authors of Lacan.com. There is also an excellent overview of his life and his work at the Stanford Encyclopedia for Philosophy. 1901  —  Jacques-Marie-Émile Lacan is born in Paris, April 13, to a family of solid Catholic tradition. He is educated at the Collège Stanislas, a Jesuit school. He has a sister, Magdeleine-Marie and a younger brother Marc-Marie, who later becomes a Benedictine at the abbey of Hautecombe. His brother’s name appears before those of his parents in his thesis dedication....

Cicero: A Remarkable Life (106 – 43 BC)

The following description of Cicero’s life is mainly quoted from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. There is also a short description of his life in the context of ancient political philosophy at the Stanford Encyclopedia. The ancient historian Plutarch wrote a long biography of him in 75 CE, which you can find at the MIT Classics Archive.  Cicero’s political career was remarkable. In his times, high political offices in Rome, though technically achieved by winning elections, were almost exclusively controlled by a group of wealthy aristocratic families that had held them for many generations. Cicero’s family was aristocratic, but did...

Friedrich Schelling: System of Transcendental Philosophy. 1800

About Schelling “Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling (1775–1854) is, along with Fichte and Hegel, one of the three most influential thinkers in the tradition of ‘German Idealism’. Since he changed his conception of philosophy often, it is hard to attribute a  clear philosophical conception to him. Schelling was a rigorous logical thinker, but in the era during which he was writing, there was so much change in philosophy that a stable, fixed point of view was impossible. Schelling’s continuing importance today is based on three aspects of his work. Schelling’s Naturphilosophie. His empirical claims are largely indefensible, but his approach...

Martin Heidegger (1889–1976)

Martin Heidegger was an important German philosopher in the 20th century, who is famous for his theories on existentialism and phenomenology. He was associated with existentialism, despite his efforts to distance himself from it. He had a strong influence on the French existentialist Jean Paul Sartre, for instance. He developed a phenomenological critique of Kant and wrote widely on Nietzsche and Hölderlin. His thinking influenced many other fields, such as theology, art, architecture, artificial intelligence, cultural anthropology, design, literary theory, social theory, political theory, psychiatry, and psychotherapy. His main work, a 20th century classic in philosophy, is ‘Sein und Zeit...

Rosenhan: On Being Sane In Insane Places

How do we know what constitutes “normality” or mental illness? Conventional wisdom suggests that specially trained professionals have the ability to make reasonably accurate diagnoses. In the research described below, however, David Rosenhan provides evidence to challenge this assumption. What is — or is not –“normal” may have much to do with the labels that are applied to people in particular settings. in 1973, Rosenhan conducted an experiment by sending eight pseudo-patients into psychiatric hospitals. Once admitted, they acted normal, but they were still treated as insane. He concludes that one cannot distinguish the sane from the insane in psychiatric hospitals. The experiment got...

Emmanuel Levinas (1906-1995)

Emmanuel Levinas is one of the most interesting European thinkers in the 20th Century. He is Jewish and grew up in Russia, studies philosophy with Husserl and Heidegger in Freiburg, fights with the French Army against the Germans, looses his family to the Holocaust, and is captured by the Nazis, but survives. After the war, he eventually becomes a professor at the Université de Paris Nanterre. He writes many books in his later life, and teaches at the Sorbonne as well. He integrates phenomenology, ethics, metaphyscis, and theology in a unique way, but it takes energy to understand him. He is also trying to re-think...

Descartes: Selections from Meditations. 1641

Descartes’ Life René Descartes (1596 – 1650) was born near Tours, in France, and was educated for nine years at a Jesuit college. After graduating with a law degree from Poitiers at the age of twenty-two, he traveled in Europe, and developed a passion for mathematics and philosophy. He spent most of his life after 1628 in Holland, and published in philosophy, physics, mathematics, and other sciences. In mathematics, he invented analytic geometry and the coordinate system that bears his name (“Cartesian”). He also prepared some significant works in physics, which he withdrew from publication upon discovering that his contemporary, Galileo,...

Kurt Koffka: Principles of Gestalt Psychology. (1935)

Koffka wrote this book in 1935; I am reproducing the first chapter here. Why Psychology? AN INTRODUCTORY QUESTION When I first conceived the plan of writing this book I guessed, though I did not know, how much effort it would cost to carry it out, and what demands it would put on a potential reader. And I doubted, not rhetorically but very honestly and sincerely, whether such labour on the part of the author and the reader was justified. I was not so much troubled by the idea of writing another book on psychology in addition to the many books...

Wolfgang Metzger: Can the subject create his world? (1974)

In talking to younger psychologists, one finds that many of them seem to believe that perception is something at the surface of the mind, a kind of borderline problem, and that preoccupation with it is obsolete. They look with disdain at every psychological problem that does not at least deal with personality, motivation, or social intercourse. But when discussing problems in which simple facts of stimulus and reaction play a role, as for example in behavior therapy, they prove that they would have done well to occupy themselves a little more with the fundamentals of perception.

Max Wertheimer: What is Gestalt Theory? (1924) 

Wertheimer tried to answer this question in a lecture given before the Kant Society in Berlin, on December 7, 1924. It was first published in German in 1925: “Über Gestalttheorie.” The translation is by Willis Ellis, and was published in his “Source Book of Gestalt Psychology.” New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co, 1938. Here is the text of Wertheimers lecture:  What is Gestalt theory and what does it intend? Gestalt theory was the outcome of concrete investigations in psychology, logic, and epistemology. The prevailing situation at the time of its origin may be briefly sketched as follows. We go from the world of everyday events to that...

Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961)

Carl Jung was a Swiss psychoanalyst who created a version of psychoanalysis that is still very popular today. His system blends to some degree with New Age thinking and resonates with a popular cultural trend that is fascinated by mythology, dreams, storytelling, and archetypes.

Josef Koudelka: Photos from the Underside of Europe

Josef Koudelka, a Czech photographer, was born in Moravia, Czechoslovakia, in 1938. He began to take photographs as a student in the 1950s. He started a career as an aeronautical engineer in 1961; during that time he began photographing Gypsies. He also worked part-time taking photos of theater performances in Prague. In 1967, he became a full-time photographer. In 1968, Koudelka documented the Soviet invasion of Prague, publishing his photographs under the initials P. P. (Prague Photographer) for fear of reprisal to him and his family. In 1969, he was anonymously awarded the Overseas Press Club’s Robert Capa, Gold Medal,...

Erik Erikson

The following summary is based on: McLeod, S. A. (2008). Erik Erikson. Retrieved from http://www.simplypsychology.org/Erik-Erikson.html Introduction Erikson’s ideas were greatly influenced by Freud, going along with Freud’s ideas about the structure and topography of personality. Different from Freud, who focused on the unconscious, Erikson addressed the development of the ego in psycho-social stages. He emphasized the role of culture and society and the conflicts that take place within the ego itself, whereas Freud emphasizes more the internal conflicts between unconscious and superego. According to Erikson, the ego develops as it successfully resolves crises that are distinctly social in nature. These involve establishing a sense...

Proudhon, Pierre-Joseph (1809-1865)

Proudhon was from humble origins but had become a well-known French social theorist during the 1840s. A printer by trade, he was an exponent of socialism, with a political preference for anarchism. His most famous book was his second one, Qu’est-ce que la propriété? (1840) (his brief answer it is theft). Before 1848 he also published De la célébration du Dimanche (1839), De la création de l’ordre dans l’humanité (1843) and Système des contradictions économiques, ou philosophie de la misère, (in 2 volumes, 1846). He criticized the French July Monarchy, but he was nonetheless surprised by the outbreak of hostilities in...

Richard Feynman (1918-1988)

Richard Feynman is a physicist who won the Nobel Prize,  worked on the Manhattan Project, he played a key role in explaining the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, and he is known for the “Feynman diagrams” that symbolize particle collisions. He gave famous introductory lectures on physics, which is now available online. The online edition features all the lectures on matter, electromagnetism, and quantum mechanics. It’s not easy to understand, but as Feynman himself once said, “Hell, if I could explain it to the average person, it wouldn’t have been worth the Nobel Prize.“ In 1959, he gave a lecture that...

David Bohm (1917-1992)

David Joseph Bohm lived from 20 December 1917 to 27 October 1992. He was an American theoretical physicist who contributed innovative and unorthodox ideas to quantum theory, philosophy of mind, and neuro-psychology. He is considered to be one of the most significant theoretical physicists of the 20th century. He was a good friend of Einstein. Biography David Bohm was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania to Jewish parents. His father owned a local furniture store. Bohm graduated from Pennsylvania State College in 1939. After attending the California Institute of Technology in 1940, he acquired a doctorate in theoretical physics at the University...

Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Chögyam Trungpa was one of the important exponents of Buddhism to western students. The 14th Dalai Lama said about Trungpa in 1981: “Exceptional as one of the first Tibetan lamas to become fully assimilated into Western culture, he made a powerful contribution to revealing the Tibetan approach to inner peace in the West.” Biography Chögyam Trungpa was born in Geja, Tibet in February 1939 and at 13 months old was recognized as a “reincarnation” of the tenth Trungpa Tulku, the 11th descendant in a line of teachers of the Kagyü lineage, one of the four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism. He...

Martin Luther King: Letter from Birmingham Jail. 1963.

The letter argues for non-violent resistance. People have a moral responsibility to break unjust laws, because there is a deeper natural law that allows us to judge man-made laws.   16 April 1963 My Dear Fellow Clergymen: While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities “unwise and untimely.” Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day,...