Radical Hope: Ethics in the Face of Cultural Devastation

Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2006

Shortly before he died, Plenty Coups, the last great Chief of the Crow Nation, told his story–up to a certain point. "When the buffalo went away the hearts of my people fell to the ground," he said, "and they could not lift them up again. After this nothing happened." It is precisely this point–that of a people faced with the end of their way of life–that prompts the philosophical and ethical inquiry pursued in Radical Hope.

"A Different Kind of Courage", review by Charles Taylor, The New York Review of Books 54, 2007.


New York: Routledge, 2005

This book introduces and assesses all of Freud's thought, focusing on those areas of philosophy on which Freud is acknowledged to have had a lasting impact. These include the philosophy of mind, free will and determinism, rationality, the nature of the self and subjectivity, and ethics and religion. It also considers some of the deeper issues and problems Freud engaged with, brilliantly illustrating their philosophical significance: human sexuality, the unconscious, dreams, and the theory of transference.

Freud: L'invention de l'inconscient (French edition: Paris: Groupe Eyrolles, 2006)

Therapeutic Action: An Earnest Plea for Irony

New York: Other Press, 2003

This book argues that, properly understood, irony plays a crucial role in therapeutic action. However, this insight has been difficult to grasp because the concept of irony itself has been distorted, covered over. It is regularly confused with sarcasm; it is often mistakenly assumed that if one is speaking ironically, one must mean the opposite of what one says, that one must be feigning ignorance, that irony and earnestness cannot go together. All of these assumptions are false. So part of the therapeutic action of this book is conceptual therapy: we need to recover a vibrant sense of irony.

L'azione terapeutica: Quando la conversazione produce un cambiamento psicologico (Milan: Apogee, 2007) (Italian translation)

Happiness, Death and the Remainder of Life

Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000

Separated by millennia, Aristotle and Sigmund Freud gave us disparate but compelling pictures of the human condition. But if we scrutinize these thinkers' attempts to explain human behavior in terms of a higher principle–whether happiness or death–the pictures fall apart.

Mutluluk, Ölüm ve Yaşmin Artakalani (Turkish edition: Istanbul: Metis Yayinlan, 2006)

Open Minded: Working Out The Logic of the Soul

Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998

Freud is discredited, so we don't have to think about the darker strains of unconscious motivation anymore. We know what moves our political leaders, so we don't have to look too closely at their thinking either. In fact, everywhere we look in contemporary culture, knowingness has taken the place of thought. This book is a spirited assault on that deadening trend, especially as it affects our deepest attempts to understand the human psyche–in philosophy and psychoanalysis. It explodes the widespread notion that we already know the problems and proper methods in these fields and so no longer need to ask crucial questions about the structure of human subjectivity.

Italian edition: La Psicoanalisi E I Suoi Nemici (Milano, Italia: McGraw-Hill Libri Italia, 1999)
Turkish edition: Istanbul: Okuyanus Yayin, 2002
Japanese edition: Ribun Shuppan, 2004

Love and its Place in Nature

Second edition: Yale University Press, 1999

This book argues that Freud posits love as a basic force in nature, one that makes individuation–the condition for psychological health and development–possible. Love is active not just in the development of the individual but also in individual analysis and indeed in the development of psychoanalysis itself, says Lear. Expanding on philosophical conceptions of love, nature, and mind, the book shows that love can cure because it is the force that makes us human.

First edition: New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1990
Paperback edition: Noonday Press, 1991
British edition: London: Faber and Faber, 1992
French edition: L’Amour et sa place dans la nature (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1995)

Aristotle: The Desire to Understand

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988

This is a philosophical introduction to Aristotle, and starts where Aristotle himself starts. The first sentence of the Metaphysics states that all human beings by their nature desire to know. But what is it for us to be animated by this desire in this world? What is it for a creature to have a nature; what is our human nature; what must the world be like to be intelligible; and what must we be like to understand it systematically? Through a consideration of these questions the book introduces us to the essence of Aristotle’s philosophy and guides us through the central Aristotelian texts - selected from the Physics, Metaphysics, Ethics, Politics and from the biological and logical works.

Spanish Edition: Aristóteles, El Deseo de Comprender (Madrid: Alianza Editorial, S.A., 1994)
Brazilian edition: Aristóteles: o desejo de entender (São Paulo: Discurso Editorial (2006)

Research Articles

"Working Through The End of Civilization", International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 2007

"Socratic Method and Psychoanalysis", in The Blackwell Companion to Socrates, S.Rappe and R. Kamtekar eds. (Oxford and New York: Blackwell, 2006)

"Myth and Allegory in Plato's Republic", in The Blackwell Companion to Plato's Republic, G. Santas ed. (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006). This is a revised version of: "The Efficacy of Myth in Plato's Republic", Boston Studies in Ancient Philosophy, 2004.

"The Idea of a Moral Psychology: Psychoanalysis in Britain in the Twentieth Century", International Journal of Psychoanalysis (October, 2003) Reprinted with revisions as "Psychoanalysis and the Idea of a Moral Psychology: Memorial to Bernard Williams' Philosophy": Inquiry 47: 1-8 (October, 2004)

"Give Dora a Break!, in Erotikon: Essays on Eros Ancient and Modern ed. S. Bartschand T. Bartscherer, University of Chicago Press, 2005

"On the Desire to Burn My Work", in Erotikon op. cit. "Glűck", in Zum Glűck, ed. Susan Neiman and Matthias Kross, Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2004, pp. 43-78

"Jumping from the Couch: An Essay on Phantasy and Emotional Structure", International Journal of Psychoanalysis (June, 2002)

"Confidentiality as a Virtue", in Confidentiality, Psychoanalysis, Ethics and the Law, (C. Levin, A. Furlong, M.-K. Lowy, eds.; The Analytic Press, 2003)

"Inside and Outside The Republic," Phronesis, 1992.

"Katharsis", Phronesis, 1988; reprinted in Aristotle’s Poetics, ed. Amelie Rorty, Princeton University Press, 1992.

"Leaving the World Alone", The Journal of Philosophy 91, 1982.

"Aristotle's Philosophy of Mathematics", The Philosophical Review 91, 1982.

"Aristotle’s Compactness Proof", The Journal of Philosophy 76, 1979.


Review of The Tasks of Philosophy and Ethics and Politics by Alasdair MacIntyre, London Review of Books