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'Sage Knows You Better Than You Know Yourself, The': Psychological Utopianism in Erich Fromm's Work

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This article focuses on Erich Fromm's life and work from the mid-1950s to the late 1960s and examines the utopian aspects of his political thought, including his ideas of positive freedom. Through a systematic inquiry into Fromm's social and political thought, the article aims to illustrate the history of utopian thought in the twentieth century in general and the basic assumptions of psychological utopianism in particular. It is argued that Fromm's image of the 'Sane Society' and his promotion of Socialist Humanism share more features with imaginative utopian thought than with empirical political theories.

Keywords: Erich Fromm; Marxism; Messianism; cold war liberalism; psychoanalysis; socialist humanism; utopianism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of History, PL 59, 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland, Email:

Publication date: January 1, 2004


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