Book Review

Terrors and Experts by Adam Phillips

Terrors and Experts by Adam Phillips

Adam Phillips is most famous for his strikingly well written investigation into the margins of a life On Kissing, Tickling and Being Bored, but here he turns his critical gaze on his own profession. Terrors and Experts argues, often quite polemically, that no one can tell you what a good life is nor how to live it. Phillips suggests that psychoanalysis can, at best, suggest that all life stories are narratives that have certain logics, certain directions; and if one occasionally gets lost within the narrative one is telling about oneself, perhaps a certain form of conversation, called analysis, could be helpful. Phillips is careful -- everything for him is provisional. The science of the unconscious that Freud discovered, Phillips believes, already always deconstructs any possible idea of a science of itself. Phillips reads into Freud a post-Freudian Freud always at battle with the scientism of the Professor. This caution, this constant contingent perhaps (non-dogmatic, anti-authoritarian), counsels us against creating experts of the mind or of life. As Phillips would ask, what would it mean to be an expert on life anyway?

-- Reviewed by Mark Thwaite on 19/09/2003

Further Information
ISBN-10: 0571175848
ISBN-13: 97805711758410
Publisher: Faber and Faber
Publication Date: 05/06/1997
Binding: Paperback
Number of pages: 140
URL: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/search?keywords=97805711758410&index=books&linkCode=qs&tag=marksbookrevi-21

Readers Comments

Leave a Comment

If you have not posted a comment on RSB before, it will need to be approved by the Managing Editor. Once you have an approved comment, you are safe to post further comments. We have also introduced a captcha code to prevent spam.

 

 

 

Enter the code shown here:   [captcha]

Note: If you cannot read the numbers in the above image, reload the page to generate a new one.