This essay was part of an effort that reconnected research on pre-Socratic philosophy with the question of the fundamental constituents of the world, the "elements. He also attempted to circumscribe existence with a profound imagination imbued with poetic experience that transcends the individual imagination of the subject. For Bachelard the phenomenon of fire is situated at this crossroads of science and poetry. In his preface, he writes, "I am going to examine a problem in which objectivity has never held sway, where the initial seduction is so compelling that it deforms the most rational minds and leads them to the cradle of poetry, where daydreams replace thought, where poems hide theorems. This is the psychological problem presented by our convictions about fire. The problem is so directly psychological that I have no hesitation in speaking of a 'psychoanalysis of fire.
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The Psychoanalysis of Fire by Gaston Bachelard ,. Ross Translator. But, within the French context, he is almost as important as they are because he has a pseudo-religious force, without taking a stand on religion. To define him as briefly as possible — he is a philosopher, w "[Bachelard] is neither a self-confessed and tortured atheist like Satre, nor, like Chardin, a heretic combining a belief in God with a proficiency in modern science.
To define him as briefly as possible — he is a philosopher, with a professional training in the sciences, who devoted most of the second phase of his career to promoting that aspect of human nature which often seems most inimical to science: the poetic imagination Get A Copy. Paperback , pages.
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More filters. Sort order. Start your review of The Psychoanalysis of Fire. Aug 05, Modern Hermeneut rated it really liked it. With this book, Bachelard cements his reputation as an intellectual charlatan.
Recklessly speculative, shockingly devoid of empirical evidence, and brazenly inaccurate. In other words, highly recommended. Jun 17, Eddie Watkins rated it really liked it Shelves: adventures-in-thought. Bachelard is very difficult to talk about or review. It's not that his writing is difficult, but rather that his subjects are so elusive, and he never shies away from avoiding specific conclusions; in fact, to specify conclusions would be contrary to his intent.
Trying to specify a conclusion in his writing would be like trying to describe the shape of a flame an easy simile but it's apt. His writing is like a flame but somehow a soft flame that would never burn too terribly in that there is Bachelard is very difficult to talk about or review. His writing is like a flame but somehow a soft flame that would never burn too terribly in that there is a general shape but no specific shape, it's there and not there, an immaterial materiality.
Yet behind all this gauzy unspecificity is an active needle-sharp mind, probing and probing, obsessed with origins and the root of all things. The title of this particular book is somewhat deceiving. It's not that he politely asked a flame to lay on the couch and proceeded to question it about its tyranical mother.
Rather the psychoanalytical subject is the human conceptualizations of fire, our subjective masquerading as objective responses to it. And through this study he lays bare the fallacy of scientific objectivity, the impossibiltiy of it, because we are simply too ruled by our passions and our loves. When we look at something such as a flame or a fire, no matter how determined we are to remain detached and objective, a revery is induced that causes our emotional body to project itself onto the flame, which in turn alters our conclusions.
Using historical example he shows that this process is very much like the experience of old time alchemists who dreamed wildly while monkishly ensconced among their flames and their alembics, and took these wild dreams as objective scientific conclusions. But I don't think Bachelard is disparaging these alchemists as he uses them as examplars. I think he uses them as an extreme example of what happens inside each of us as we gaze upon all the living objects around us.
View 1 comment. Jan 17, Jonfaith rated it really liked it Shelves: poetshere , theory. Death in the flame is the least lonely of deaths. It is truly a cosmic death in which a whole universe is reduced to nothingness along with the thinker. The funeral pyre accompanies him in his passing. Bachelard again gives us a poetic history of science as interpreted by Robert Burton.
This book is ridiculous. I love it -- it remains so 18C. The overtures to Prometheius, the citations of Novalis and Balzac. The unintended irony of bracketing the entire work with references to Eluard and by exten Death in the flame is the least lonely of deaths.
The unintended irony of bracketing the entire work with references to Eluard and by extension or my own inference Jan Hus.
If one can resist the Oedipal nature of the hearth and avoid the temptation of elixirs--which often leads to spontaneous immolation, there's a redemption in purification. Wind and ash. Bachelard makes the intriguing argument that one might analyze poetry in terms of which pre-scientific element—earth, air, fire or water—dominates in its imagery. His thesis is that our cosmologies contain subjective elements, reflected in metaphors, and that these subjective elements can be psychoanalyzed.
In this respect, literary analysis is a psychoanalytic technique, and the metaphor is a kind of symptom one finds similar suggestions in the work of French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan. Aug 05, Richard rated it really liked it. Before I read this, I thought it wasn't possible to psychoanalyze fire. I mean, you're not exactly going to get it to free associate. Boy was I wrong.
View 2 comments. Feb 04, James F rated it really liked it Shelves: philosophy , modern , poetry , psychology , science , history , early. I discovered this fascinating little book more or less by accident.
Gaston Bachelard is somewhat of an anomaly; in the great schism of modern philosophy early in the twentieth century, the Austro- Anglo-American tradition took as its "portion" logic, language, and philosophy of science, while the Continental tradition largely took social philosophy and metaphysics, but Bachelard was a philosopher of science within the Continental tradition, almost the only one.
His philosophy of science is natu I discovered this fascinating little book more or less by accident. His philosophy of science is naturally very different from anything else I've read; while the A-A-A philosophers at the time were essentially concerned with normative issues of logic and epistemology, with how we "ought" to do science -- later with Kuhn and company it turned toward sociological and socio-political description -- Bachelard was concerned with psychological apects of scientific investigation, what he describes as "the psychoanalysis of objective knowledge.
In this book he focuses on the various ideas relating to fire, and identifies pre-scientific groups of ideas which he calls the "Prometheus complex", "Empedocles complex", "Novalis complex", and "Hoffman complex", and traces them in early modern physical and chemical theories of the nature of fire.
While I wouldn't want to evaluate his overall theory based on such a short book, his discussions of the various ways that people experience fire, and the use of fire in mythology and literature is quite interesting and full of insights.
Jan 12, Dan Sumption rated it it was ok Shelves: non-fiction , philosophy , science. I was fascinated by the title and intrigued by the subject matter of this book, but after reading it I can't really recommend it for anything other than a snapshot of its time. To be fair on Bachelard he does say in the introduction that after reading this book, you will not have gained any knowledge whatsoever. In this he is absolutely correct.
Bachelard's thesis is that humans' relationship with fire is so ancient and vital that it is almost impossible for us to look at fire objectively. He cla I was fascinated by the title and intrigued by the subject matter of this book, but after reading it I can't really recommend it for anything other than a snapshot of its time. He claims that no scientist has ever adequately explained the phenomenon of fire and that scientists, being human, always start off with preconceptions which taint their writings on fire.
He takes a psychoanalytic approach to examining how these preconceptions come about. After explaining a number of such human aspects which we unconsciously attribute to fire, Bachelard goes on to spend several chapters mocking the work of scientists of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.
Given some of the wildly unfounded claims with which Bachelard backs up his arguments, he is on very shaky ground here: reading his book 80 years on, his own arguments look every bit as ridiculous as those he criticises. Bachelard nous ouvre les yeux sur le symbolisme, archaique, du feu.
Oct 31, vi macdonald rated it liked it Shelves: reads , 20th-century , philosophy , art-history-theory. Sep 05, Qasim Zafar rated it did not like it Shelves: philosophy. Generally, I truly enjoy reading Gaston Bachelard. He has a very poetic style with which he writes; but this book was perhaps one of the most frustrating books I've read - for the reason that there is nothing which even the Bachelard seems to want the reader to gain from having read this book.
It is a collection of various subjective meditations in which he often draws from various psychoanalytic and literary resources. But as I read the book I kept asking myself what is the point of this, what Generally, I truly enjoy reading Gaston Bachelard. But as I read the book I kept asking myself what is the point of this, what is he ultimately trying to say, and I could not get it.
Gaston Bachelard - Psychoanalysis of Fire
The Psychoanalysis of Fire
The Psychoanalysis of Fire. Translated by. ALAN C. Copyright ,'1 by Alan C.
Psychoanalysis of Fire, The