Education: Yale University, B.A., 1970; University of Cambridge, B.A., 1973, M.A., 1976; Rockefeller University, Ph.D., 1978; graduate of Western New England Institute of Psychoanalysis, 1995.
Office—Committee on Social Thought, University of Chicago, 1130 E. 59th St., Chicago, IL 60637. E-mail—[email protected]
Philosopher, psychoanalyst, educator, and writer. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England, Trinity Hall, research fellow, 1977-78, Clare College, fellow, 1979-85, assistant lecturer in philosophy, 1979-82, lecturer in philosophy, 1982-85; Yale University, New Haven, CT, assistant professor, 1978-79, associate professor, 1985-86, professor of philosophy, 1986-95, chair of the department of philosophy, 1988-90, Kingman Brewster Professor of the Humanities, 1995-96; University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, John U. Nef Distinguished Service Professor at the Committee on Social Thought and in the Department of Philosophy, 1996—. Also served as faculty member at the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis, Western New England Institute for Psychoanalysis, and New York University Institute for Psychoanalysis.
Mellon Fellowship, 1970-72; Robert Greene Cup, Clare College, 1973, for academic distinction; research fellowship, Trinity Hall, 1977-78; National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship, 1984-85; John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, 1987-88; Gradiva Award, National Association for Psychoanalysis, 1995, for best article on the subject of psychoanalysis for "The Shrink Is In," 1998, for best psychoanalytic book for Open Minded, 2000, for best psychoanalytic book for Happiness, Death, and the Remainder of Life; Heinz Hartmann Award, New York Psychoanalytic Institute, 1992, for best psychoanalytic publication for Love and Its Place in Nature; Eric T. Carlson Award for Outstanding Contribution to the History of Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Cornell Medical School, 2004.
Aristotle and Logical Theory, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1980.
Aristotle: The Desire to Understand, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1988.
Love and Its Place in Nature: A Philosophical Interpretation of Freudian Psychoanalysis, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1990.
Open Minded: Working Out the Logic of the Soul, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1998.
Happiness, Death, and the Remainder of Life, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 2000.
Therapeutic Action: An Earnest Plea for Irony, Other Press (New York, NY), 2003.
Freud, Routledge (New York, NY), 2005.
Radical Hope: Ethics in the Face of Cultural Devastation, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 2006.
Jonathan Lear is a philosophy professor whose primary interest is in the philosophical conceptions of the human psyche from Socrates to the present. He is also the author of several books looking both at philosophy and psychology. The author interprets Freudian psychoanalysis in his book Love and Its Place in Nature: A Philosophical Interpretation of Freudian Psychoanalysis. Placing his examination firmly within the realm of philosophy, Lear examines love as a force integral to human nature and the root of Freudian theory. Publishers Weekly reviewer Genevieve Stuttaford called Love and Its Place in Nature a "heartfelt and scholarly treatise."
In Open Minded: Working Out the Logic of the Soul, Lear examines the field of psychology via the thinking of philosophers such as Plato and Wittgenstein, as well as the writings of Freud and others in the field of psychoanalysis. According to the author, psychoanalysis is an inheritor of the ancient Greeks' efforts to examine the mind and that philosophy and psychoanalysis should come together in an effort to be open-minded when it comes to inquiring into the human "soul." "On the whole, the book gives the reader much occasion for thought, reflection, and an appreciation of the open-mindedness that has led its author to the serious consideration of the interminable questions which, for reflective human beings, not merely for members of our ‘profession,’ are, as Socrates and Freud would doubtless agree, both impossible and necessary," wrote Robert Rethy in the Review of Metaphysics.
Happiness, Death, and the Remainder of Life stems from a three-part lecture on human values that Lear gave at Harvard University. In the book, the author explores psychoanalysis and whether or not it really makes a difference in people's lives and in their overall understanding of life. The author touches upon such topics as happiness and death as he explores Freud's theory of the unconscious and the philosophy of Aristotle. "In the end, Lear ties the ideas of these two rather different thinkers together in a cogent … way," wrote a Publishers Weekly contributor. Richard Rorty, writing in the New York Times Book Review, referred to the book as "daring and provocative" and also wrote that "his book will excite the interest of anyone who has ever been bowled over by either of those two men."
In his book Freud, Lear looks at the life and career of the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, and compares Freud with modern psychoanalysts. According to the author, today's psychoanalysts differ greatly from Freud in that they have little interest in the mysteries of human life or in art, culture, and religion as a part of nature. Lear's 2006 book, Radical Hope: Ethics in the Face of Cultural Devastation, looks at the Crow Indian nation's demise in the early twentieth century as Lear ponders the way in which cultures are unable to comprehend their potential devastation, which he calls their "blind spot." The author explores how the disappearance of the buffalo affected the Crows' psychology and played an important role in the attack on their culture. He also considers the writings of philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle in terms of cultural demise. Deborah Donovan, writing in Booklist, noted that the book is "relevant to mainstream readers … [because of] his application of the blindspot hypothesis to the present." Library Journal contributor Scott Duimstra called the book "engaging" and went on to write that the author "creatively uses philosophical ideas to explain" the changes the Crow had to undergo.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Imago, winter, 2003, Elliot L. Jurist, review of Happiness, Death, and the Remainder of Life.
American Journal of Psychoanalysis, September, 1999, Mathew Tolchin, review of Open Minded: Working Out the Logic of the Soul, p. 291.
American Journal of Psychotherapy, fall, 1999, Carl Goldberg, review of Love and Its Place in Nature: A Philosophical Interpretation of Freudian Psychoanalysis; fall, 1999, Richard D. Chessick, review of Open Minded.
American Journal of Sociology, July, 2006, Jeffrey Prager, "Beneath the Surface of the Self: Psychoanalysis and the Unseen Known," p. 276.
Ancient Philosophy, spring, 2002, Barbara Hannan, review of Happiness, Death, and the Remainder of Life.
Booklist, September 1, 2006, Deborah Donovan, review of Radical Hope: Ethics in the Face of Cultural Devastation, p. 23.
Choice, May, 2001, J. Gough, review of Happiness, Death, and the Remainder of Life, p. 1640.
Christian Century, November 2, 1988, review of Aristotle: The Desire to Understand, p. 994; March 20, 1991, Don Browning, review of Love and Its Place in Nature, p. 340.
Christian Science Monitor, April 20, 1988, review of Aristotle, p. 21.
Cross Currents, fall, 2001, James E. Giles, review of Happiness, Death, and the Remainder of Life.
Ethics, July, 1990, review of Aristotle, p. 917; July, 1990, Scott G. Schreiber, review of Aristotle, p. 917.
Greece & Rome, April, 1989, Richard Wallace, review of Aristotle, p. 122.
Isis, June, 1989, R.J. Hankinson, review of Aristotle, p. 306.
Journal of Philosophy, May, 1999, Maria Cavell, review of Open Minded, p. 263.
Journal of the History of Philosophy, April 1, 1991, Robert Friedman, review of Aristotle, p. 301.
Library Journal, October 1, 1990, Paul Hymowitz, review of Love and Its Place in Nature, p. 105; July 1, 2006, Scott Duimstra, review of Radical Hope, p. 80.
Mind, October, 2001, Elijah Millgram, review of Love and Its Place in Nature, p. 1087; October, 2004, Grant Gillett, review of Therapeutic Action: An Earnest Plea for Irony, p. 769.
Mnemosyne, spring, 1992, David T. Runia, review of Aristotle.
New Leader, July 15, 1991, Michael Kott, review of Love and Its Place in Nature, p. 19.
New York Times, December 13, 1990, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, review of Love and Its Place in Nature, p. 20; August 3, 1998, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, review of Open Minded, p. 6; November 4, 2000, Dinitia Smith, "Returning to Freud for Help with the Riddles of Philosophy; Jonathan Lear Believes Psychology Provides a Way to Rethink Life's Most Profound Issues," p. 13.
New York Times Book Review, October 22, 2000, Richard Rorty, review of Happiness, Death, and the Remainder of Life, p. 14.
Philosophical Quarterly, April, 2001, Sebastian Gardner, review of Open Minded, p. 254.
Philosophical Review, July, 1991, Richard Kraut, review of Aristotle, p. 522.
Philosophy, April, 1989, D.W. Hamlyn, review of Aristotle, p. 262.
Philosophy of the Social Sciences, December, 2000, Joseph Agassi, "How Ignoring Repeatability Leads to Magic," p. 528.
Publishers Weekly, August 17, 1990, Genevieve Stuttaford, review of Love and Its Place in Nature, p. 59; August 21, 2000, review of Happiness, Death, and the Remainder of Life, p. 60.
Quarterly Journal of Speech, August, 1989, Robert W. Smith, review of Aristotle, p. 381.
Reference & Research Book News, November, 2003, review of Therapeutic Action, p. 8; November, 2005, review of Freud.
Review of Metaphysics, December, 2000, Robert Rethy, review of Open Minded, p. 449.
Teaching Philosophy, September, 2006, Jeffrey M. Jackson, review of Freud, p. 272.
Times Educational Supplement, April 17, 1992, Anthony Clare, review of Love and Its Place in Nature, p. 22.
Times Literary Supplement, September 9, 1988, Julia Annas, review of Aristotle, p. 998; March 1, 1991, Robert Brown, review of Love and Its Place in Nature, p. 22; January 8, 1999, Liam Hudson, review of Open Minded, p. 9; December 8, 2000, Andrew Stark, review of Happiness, Death and the Remainder of Life, p. 12; June 4, 2004, Sebastian Gardner, review of Therapeutic Action, p. 26; January 6, 2006, Andrew Scull, "Disciples of the Couch," p. 25; December 22, 2006, Terry Eagleton, review of Radical Hope, p. 32.
Virginia Law Review, March, 2000, Anne C. Dailey, review of Open Minded, p. 349.
Wilson Quarterly, spring, 1999, review of Open Minded.
University of Chicago Chronicle Web site,http://chronicle.uchicago.edu/ (November 16, 2000), Arthur Fournier, "Q&A with … Jonathan Lear."
University of Chicago Department of Philosophy Web site,http://philosophy.uchicago.edu/ (May 17, 2007), faculty profile of author and author's curriculum vitae.