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Decline and Fall of the Freudian Empire Paperback – August 13, 2004

7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0765809452 ISBN-10: 0765809451 Edition: Revised

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Hans J. Eysenck (1916-1997) was professor of psychology at the University of London and the director of its psychological department at the Institute of Psychiatry. He was best known for his experimental research in the field of personality. Among his many books are Rebel with a Cause, Dimensions of Personality, The Dynamics of Anxiety and Hysteria, Intelligence, and Decline and Fall of the Freudian Empire.



Sybil B. G. Eysenck, wife of the late author Hans Eysenck, is co-director of Personality Investigations, Publications and Services (PIPS), an organization devoted to the promotion of the writings and research of Hans J. Eysenck. She is the co-author, with Hans Eysenck, of Psychoticism as a Dimension of Personality and Personality Structure and Measurement and the co-editor, with Donald Saklofske, of Individual Differences in Children and Adolescents.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers; Revised edition (August 13, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765809451
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765809452
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,016,925 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Peter A. Kindle on May 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
Make no mistake about it, Eysenck does not think much of Freud. At times his tone adopts a polemical flavor that I personally find distasteful. Yet the facts remain. Anyone hoping to understand Freud and psychoanalytic theory must read Eysenck, if only to be aware of the questions that must be faced.
Eysenck gives four rules about interpreting Freud. First, do not believe what Freud and others have to say about his life. Check out the facts for yourself. Eysenck claims that most biographical material about Freud is designed to promote hero worship.
Second, do not believe the claims about the effectiveness of the psychoanalytic method. Look at the evidence for yourself. For example, in the famous case of Anna O, Eysenck documents Freud's failed "cure" and continued treatment by medical doctors of her tuberculous meningitus.
Third, do not accept claims of originality in Freud's theory. Eysenck traces use of even the "unconscious" to Freud's predecessors.
Fourth, do not accept Freudian evidence for the correctness of his theories. Eysenck claims that the facts often disprove, rather than support, Freud's claims.
Eysenck is not the last word. Psychoanalysis continues today. There are proponents who have extended Freud's theories. There have been new attempts to find value in Freud's work. Nonetheless, Eysenck is essential. In a sense he started the entire controversy!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Steven H Propp TOP 50 REVIEWER on June 10, 2013
Format: Paperback
Hans Jürgen Eysenck (1916-1997) was a British psychologist of German origin, known for his work on intelligence testing [The IQ argument] and personality; he wrote many books such as the trilogy: Uses And Abuses of Psychology, Sense and Nonsense in Psychology, and Fact and Fiction in Psychology, as well as his autobiography, Rebel with a Cause. He wrote in the first chapter of this 1985 book, "This book assesses the present day status of Freud's theories in general, and evaluates his claims concerning the scientific status of these theories, and the value of his therapeutic methods." (Pg. 19)

He notes "the sudden and unexpected change that took place in Freud at the beginning of the 1890s... He was a nonconformist member of the bourgeoisie, conservative and orthodox. All of this changed abruptly... where previously he had been extremely straight-laced and Victorian in his sexual attitudes, he was now advocating the complete overthrow of all conventional sexual morality... his [writing] style now became extraordinarily speculative and theoretical... Other symptoms of a personality change ... were the Messianic conviction of a mission...
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 18, 1999
Format: Paperback
H. Eysenck does a wonderful job showing that Psychoanalysis is as scientific as Dr. Seuss Books. The book is filled with information and references of why Freud and Psychoanalysis failed to be scientific. This book is specially usefull if you live in places where Psychoanalysis is still considered as the ultimate theory, and Freud has an almost god status. It is of great help to those who want to show to their peers and teachers that Freud was simply wrong.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Donald B. Siano on January 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
If you are one of the perceptives, you have probably questioned the quackery behind Freudian psychoanalysis, but may not have taken the time to investigate precisely why it is exactly that. Eysenck has done an outstanding job in this book in showing not only how unscientific and wrong it is, but goes further to describe the great harm that his ideas have inflicted on Western society.
Psychoanalysis is two things: a theory of psychology, dealing with memory, personality and childhood development; and a method for treatment of certain types of mental illness such as neuroses and depression. As a theory of psychology, it has failed because its basic assumptions are now known to be incorrect, and because of its use of unscientific modes of establishing and analyzing factual materials. As a treatment, it has failed because of its very frequently noted propensity for making patients worse. Its sexual interpretation of physical symptoms, such as a cough being a "love song," or bedwetting being caused by masturbation, are absurdities that only perverts can believe.
Eysenck's critique is truly devastating for a modern reader to encounter, and one can only wonder why Freud's ideas have had such an impact on the popular imagination. Eysenck's lucidly expressed explanation is that the answer lies in the ancient human desire to get something for nothing. Freudian methods can obtain theories without having to laboriously obtain reliable facts. Non-scientific thinkers, including literary authors, new agers, pseudo-psychologists, social workers and pedagogues, whose hunger for explanations exceeds their common sense, mistake idle speculation for "insight," and lamentably fall all too easily for humbug.
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