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Raskolnikovs Rebirth: Psychology and the Understanding of Good and Evil   Ilham Dilman

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0-8126-9416-3 $26.95       Paper
256 pages
(May 2000)

Raskolnikov's Rebirth
Psychology and the Understanding of
Good and Evil

Ilham Dilman

In Raskolnikov's Rebirth, Dilman explains the important role that Freud's theory of psychoanalysis plays in our understanding of ethics and in our continuing investigation into the nature of good and evil. Arguing against recent critics of Freud, Dilman shows that the strength of psychoanalysis lies in its ability to reflect upon human life and its different modes of being. Dilman employs Raskolnikov, Dostoyevsky's axe-murdering protagonist in Crime and Punishment, to better illustrate these concepts, following Raskolnikov's alienation from goodness, his return to it, and his ultimate ethical rebirth. An original and insightful approach to thinking about psychology, Raskolnikov's Rebirth is a thoughtful examination of the value of psychoanalysis that will lead the reader to a deeper understanding of humankind's experience with good and evil.

"Raskolnikov's Rebirth is a profound contribution to understanding the psychology of the moral life as we live it. Ilham Dilman distinguishes this sharply from the fundamentally misguided attempts at a 'scientific' study of moral psychology. He presents highly specific and sensitive explorations of a broad range of topics such as moral integrity, love and hate, egocentricity and altruism, guilt and repentance, the insights and limitations of psychoanalysis, the role of religion, and Dostoyevsky's psychology of the soul. There is—as always—rigor in Dilman's analyses, but it is in the service of philosophy as illumination and engagement rather than theory and detachment."
—Herbert Fingarette
University of California, Santa Barbara

"Wonderfully refreshing. By rejecting a scientific approach and focusing on the soul rather than on observable behavior, Dilman sketches a program for understanding ourselves through 'enabling' rather than 'determining' concepts and principles. . . the development of the soul can transform a person, such as Raskolnikov, from evil to good, but not the other way around."
—Newton Garver
Author of This Complicated Form of Life


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