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The anatomy of human destructiveness

Author: Erich Fromm
Publisher: New York : Holt, Rinehart and Winston, ©1973.
Edition/Format:   Book : English : 1st edView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
How can we explain man's lust for cruelty? In a world in which violence seems to be increasing, social philosopher Erich Fromm has treated this haunting question with depth and scope in the most original and far-reaching work of his brilliant career. Fromm goes beyond the controversy between instinctivists like Lorenz, who argue that man's destructiveness has been inherited from his animal ancestors, and  Read more...
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Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Fromm, Erich, 1900-1980.
Anatomy of human destructiveness.
New York, Holt, Rinehart and Winston [1973]
(OCoLC)565291361
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Erich Fromm
ISBN: 9780030075964 0030075963
OCLC Number: 677299
Notes: The Mazal Holocaust Collection.
Description: xvi, 521 pages ; 24 cm
Contents: pt. I. Instinctivism, behaviorism, psychoanalysis. The instinctivists --
Environmentalists and behaviorists --
Instinctivism and behaviorism : their differences and similarities --
The psychoanalytic approach to the understanding of aggression --
pt. II. The evidence against the instinctivist thesis. Neurophysiology --
Animal behavior --
Paleontology --
Anthropology --
pt. III. The varieties of aggression and destructiveness and their respective conditions. Benign aggression --
Malignant aggression : premises --
Malignant aggression : cruelty and destructiveness --
Malignant aggression : necrophilia --
Malignant aggression : Adolf Hitler, a clinical case of necrophilia --
Epilogue: On the ambiguity of hope --
Appendix: Freud's theory of aggressiveness and destructiveness.
Responsibility: Erich Fromm.

Abstract:

How can we explain man's lust for cruelty? In a world in which violence seems to be increasing, social philosopher Erich Fromm has treated this haunting question with depth and scope in the most original and far-reaching work of his brilliant career. Fromm goes beyond the controversy between instinctivists like Lorenz, who argue that man's destructiveness has been inherited from his animal ancestors, and behaviorists like Skinner, who maintain that there are no innate human traits since everything is the result of social conditioning. Conceding that there is a kind of aggression which man shares with animals, Fromm shows that it is defensive in nature, designed to insure survival. On the other hand, malignant aggression, or destructiveness, in which man kills without biological or social purpose, is peculiarly human and not instinctive; it is one of the passions, like ambition or greed. Drawing on findings of neurophysiology, prehistory, anthropology, and animal psychology, Fromm presents a global and historical study of human destructiveness that enables readers to evaluate the data for themselves. Although deeply indebted to Freud, Fromm emphasizes social and cultural factors as well. Destructiveness is seen in terms of the dreams and associations of many patients, and of historical figures such as Stalin--an extreme example of sadism; Himmler--an example of the bureaucratic-sadistic character; and Hitler.--From publisher description.

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