Jonathan Lear

Jonathan Lear, the author of Radical Hope: Ethics in the Face of Cultural Devastation, teaches philosophy at the University of Chicago.


Not Simply Not True

11 March 2010

Christopher Bollas takes me to task for using the phrase ‘simply not true’ to describe his claim that ‘Freud was never able to answer the question … isn’t every dream a wish-fulfilment?’ though Freud categorically claimed in 1919 that traumatic dreams are not wish-fulfilments and held onto this view for the remaining two decades of his life (Letters, 8 April). Bollas also rebuffs my assertion...

Sharing Secrets: Christopher Bollas

Jonathan Lear, 11 March 2010

Christopher Bollas is perhaps the most prolific and widely read psychoanalytic author at work today. It’s easy to see why this should be so. His books are written in a conversational style that quickly establishes a friendly, frank relation with his reader, and he exudes the confidence of a master practitioner: he is above all a man of (clinical) experience. He knows his way around...

If there is a single theme running through these essays it is the importance of our commitment to truth. Not just to the truth about ourselves and our relations with others, or to the truth about the world: our commitment must be to the concept of truth as central to human wellbeing. This, of course, runs counter to one of the philosophical clichés of our time: that there is no such...


Jonathan Lear, 19 September 1985

Charles Taylor is, by his own admission, a hedgehog. Though the essays in these two volumes range over a variety of topics – the concept of a person, meaning, the value of cognitive psychology, sexuality as a mode of political control – they all argue for one basic idea: that the conceptions of objectivity and scientific method which we have inherited from the 17th century are unable to give us an account of ourselves.

Reasons for Living: On Being Understood

Adam Phillips, 12 November 1998

If we picture the mind as an orifice then we cannot help but wonder what it should be open to and what it should be open for. And how it, or rather we, make such vital decisions. An open mind is...

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