Scholarly Books

For a complete listing, including books published after 2012, please see:

Dr. Jon Mills' Amazon Books page

Books published 2012 and earlier

  • Underworlds: Philosophies of the Unconscious from Psychoanalysis to Metaphysics
  • Conundrums : A Critique of Contemporary Psychoanalysis
  • Origins: On the Genesis of Psychic Reality
  • Other Banalities: Melanie Klein Revisited
  • Treating Attachment Pathology
  • Relational and Intersubjective Perspectives in Psychoanalysis: A Critique
  • Psychoanalysis at the Limit
  • Rereading Freud
  • When God Wept
  • The Unconscious Abyss
  • A Pedagogy of Becoming
  • The Human Aspect
  • The Ontology of Prejudice

  • Underworlds: Philosophies of the Unconscious from Psychoanalysis to Metaphysics (New York: Routledge, 2012)

    "This book is a complex and compelling journey into the intersection of philosophy and psychoanalysis. The author provides a masterful understanding of the unconscious roots of ancient cultural beliefs, the intricacy of Hegel’s philosophical insights, and of Freud’s unique fusion of ancient and modern ways of conceptualizing the human mind. Challenging and fascinating views on the death drive and the nature of human conflict are introduced. The reader is familiarized with the true philosophical depth in the works of existentialism, Lacan, Jung, and Whitehead. All these topics and more come with intricate and well researched detail, bringing the reader to a new awareness of how much the foundational concepts of psychoanalysis have emerged from and continue to be influenced by the core elements of philosophy and metaphysics." -Robert Waska LPCC, MFT, PhD, author and psychoanalyst, San Francisco, California.

    "In Underworlds, Mills gives us a whirlwind, erudite, and cogent tour of depictions of the unconscious from ancient Egypt to Whitehead. His facility in the worlds of both Philosophy and Psychoanalysis enable him to consider psychoanalytic concepts such as the Unconscious, soul, the death drive, and authenticity in relation to their earlier underpinnings in philosophy, helping to form a bridge that links the perspectives of Freud, Lacan, and Jung with their underlying metapsychologies. These considerations invite the reader to reflect on the search for deeper ultimate meaning inherent in the psychoanalytic enterprise." -Marilyn Charles, Austen Riggs Center, Massachusetts, USA.

    "What a pleasure to read Jon Mills leading us through a wonderland of philosophical and depth psychological explorations of our feeling soul working through unconscious processes. A colorful, productive tour of the creative unconscious in a variety of guises. How can something so "low" lift us so "high"? The author lives what he thinks and thinks what he lives." -Michael Eigen, Author, Contact With the Depths, Flames from the Unconscious, Kabbalah and Psychoanalysis .

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    Conundrums : A Critique of Contemporary Psychoanalysis (New York: Routledge, 2012)

    This is the first book of its kind to offer a sustained critique of contemporary psychoanalytic thought favoring relational, postmodern, and intersubjective perspectives, which largely define American psychoanalysis today. Conundrums turns an eye toward the philosophical underpinnings of contemporary theory; its theoretical relation to traditional psychoanalytic thought; clinical implications for therapeutic practice; political and ethical ramifications of contemporary praxis; and its intersection with points of consilience that emerge from these traditions. Central arguments and criticisms advanced throughout the book focus on operationally defining the key tenets of contemporary perspectives; the seduction and ambiguity of postmodernism; the question of selfhood and agency; illegitimate attacks on classical psychoanalysis; the role of therapeutic excess; contemporary psychoanalytic politics; and the question of consilience between psychoanalysis as a science versus psychoanalysis as part of the humanities. The historical criticisms against psychoanalysis are further explored in the context of the current philosophical-scientific binary that preoccupies the field.

    "This extraordinary work by one of the most scholarly psychoanalytic thinkers of our time is a welcome and much-needed reappraisal of the relational perspective in contemporary psychoanalysis. Mills brings his rich philosophical background to bear in this detailed and illuminating critique of both the pros and cons of relational psychoanalysis that will be invaluable to those who embrace the contemporary perspective as well as those who find some of its tenets wanting. This is by far the best and most original book of its kind. Essential reading!" - M. Guy Thompson, Ph.D., Supervising Analyst, Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California, and author of, The Ethic of Honesty: The Fundamental Rule of Psychoanalysis

    "Critique of psychoanalysis, coming from the usual suspects, is a bit of a bore. Coming from the inside by a clinician who is also an academic, is something completely different. History testifies to the fact that there is a rather annoying tradition of burning these critics at the stake. To make things even worse, Mills denudes the philosophical premises of contemporary psychoanalysis (relational, intersubjective, and postmodern) with great erudition. The net result is that the reader receives an insightful view into the psychoanalytic conundrum, as well as arguments against (e.g., Grunbaum's critique, psychoanalytic authoritarianism, and sectism). The book ends with a further elaboration of a systematic psychoanalytic metaphysics, explaining how the unconscious generates mind. Psychoanalysis has a future as long as there are colleagues like Jon Mills." - Paul Verhaeghe, Head of the Department of Psychoanalysis, University of Ghent, Belgium, and author of, On Being Normal and Other Disorders

    "A remarkable and compelling book." - Wilfried Ver Eecke, Ph.D., Department of Philosophy, Georgetown University, and author of, Denial, Negation, and the Forces of the Negative

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    Origins: On the Genesis of Psychic Reality (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2010)

    2011 Gradiva Award Winner for Best Book, National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis

    The question of what constitutes psychic reality has been of interest to philosophers and psychologists for as long as humans have thought about the mind. In Origins, Jon Mills presents a provocative challenge to contemporary theories of the difference between the mind and body in neuroscience. By re-examining our understanding of the unconscious, he explains the birth of the psyche and provides a detailed account of the ways in which subjectivity is formed. In the first comprehensive work to articulate a psychoanalytic metaphysics based on process thought, the author uses dialectical logic to show how the nature and structure of mental life is constituted. Arguing that ego development is produced not only by consciousness but also evolves from unconscious genesis, he makes the controversial claim that an unconscious semiotics serves as the template for language and all meaning structures. A thought-provoking account of idealism, Origins confronts the limitations of materialism and empiricism while salvaging the roles of agency and freedom that have been neglected by the biological sciences.

    "Origins is an intriguing and ambitious work. Jon Mills wants to do no less than develop a new, dialectical psychology that will shake the assumptions of self-satisfied psychologists and philosophers. The controversial nature of this book is one of its signal strengths." -John Lachs, Centennial Professor of Philosophy, Vanderbilt University

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    Other Banalities: Melanie Klein Revisited (London & New York: Routledge, 2006)

    Melanie Klein is one of the few analysts whose body of work has inspired sociologists, philosophers, religious scholars, literary critics and political theorists, all attracted to the cross-fertilisation of her ideas. Other Banalities represents a long over-due exploration of her legacy, including contributions from acclaimed interdisciplinary scholars and practitioners.

    The contributors situate Klein within the history of the psychoanalytic movement, investigate her key theoretical and clinical advances, and look at how her thought has informed contemporary perspectives in the behavioural sciences and humanities. Topics covered range from Klein’s major psychological theories to clinical pathology, child development, philosophy, sociology, politics, religion, ethics and aesthetics.

    This volume reflects the auspicious future for Kleinian revivalism and demonstrates the broad relevance of Kleinian thought. It will be of great interest to scholars and practitioners of psychology, psychoanalysis and psychotherapy.

    "Melanie Klein remains one of the indispensable coordinates for anyone seeking to navigate the strange seas of psychoanalytic thought. The essays in this volume, by leading British and North American analysts and scholars, richly situate Klein's work in its historical context, probingly explore its theoretical nuances and clinical valences, and open up many promising new directions for psychoanalysis across the disciplines." -Peter L. Rudnytsky, Ph.D. Editor, American Imago, and author of, Reading Psychoanalysis

    Contributors include C. Fred Alford, Marilyn Charles, Walter A. Davis, Michael Eigen, James S. Grotstein, Keith Haartman, R.D. Hinshelwood, Jon Mills, Michael Rustin, Robert Maxwell Young

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    Treating Attachment Pathology (Lantham, MD: Aronson/Rowman & Littlefield, 2005)

    2006 Gradiva Award Finalist for Best Book, National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis

    This book rectifies a much neglected area in the conceptualization and treatment of attachment disorders. Offering the first comprehensive paradigm on the psychoanalytic treatment of adult and adolescent attachment disorders, Jon Mills argues that attachment pathology is a disorder of the self based on developmental trauma that predisposes patients toward a future trajectory marked by structural deficits, character pathology, and interpersonal discord that fuel and sustain myriad forms of clinical symptomatology. This pivotal work constitutes a treatise on the governing psychic processes of attachment on self-organization, adaptation, and conflicted intersubjective dynamics in non-childhood populations, and on the intervening relational parameters in treating their emergent clinical pathologies. Through conceptually astute technical strategies grounded in sold clinical practice, the author offers one of the most extensive and original frameworks in the psychoanalytic treatment of attachment disorders.

    "Mills masterly demonstrates the importance of early attachment relationships, and how disruptions in attachment can lead to psychopathology. . . .Mills' ability to weave together theoretical literature with his own experiences helps make this material appropriate to the expert and novice clinician. . . .It is not often that the reader is let into the clinician's mind. It is even rarer for the clinician to let the reader into his mind when he is unsure about issues. . . .Mills makes extensive use of case examples and thereby makes complex and theoretically dense concepts accessible. This is one of the real strengths of Mills' book and it is done with great skill. . . . Mills' frank discussion of his own mistakes, and his invitations to critique his therapeutic decisions and techniques, provide a fresh and welcome addition to the literature. Mills is clearly passionate about his work, and it is hard not to feel that same excitement when reading his work. "-Canadian Psychology

    "Under the author's highly knowledgeable and skillful guidance, attachment theory once the pariah of psychoanalysis, is demonstrated by him to be central to understanding human development, and errors in attachment to be central to the development of psychopathology. . . It is the immediacy of the importance of attachment in the clinical situation which clearly distinguishes this worthy book. Attachment is no longer simply a feature of infancy in childhood. It is a matter for a lifetime and is a major player in adult psychopathology. I urge all mental health workers to read it."—James S. Grotstein, M.D., David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA; Los Angeles Psychoanalytic Institute

    "It is a rare treat indeed and one that is increasingly uncommon to have the richest, most detailed clinical material presented alongside tightly organized and coherent clinical theory. This book is of immense practical value. In teaching simple but effective therapeutic techniques, the book succeeds in identifying a previously frequently overlooked set of clinical problems and in meeting these in the most powerful way that modern analytic technique is able to muster. This book is an absolute gem!"—Peter Fonagy, Ph.D., University College of London

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    Relational and Intersubjective Perspectives in Psychoanalysis: A Critique (Lantham, MD: Aronson/Rowman & Littlefield, 2005)

    This volume is the first concentrated effort to offer a philosophical critique of relational and intersubjective perspectives in contemporary psychoanalytic thought. The distinguished group of scholars and clinicians assembled here are largely preoccupied with tracing the theoretical underpinnings of relational psychoanalysis, its divergence from traditional psychoanalytic paradigms, implications for clinical reform and therapeutic practice, and its intersection with alternative psychoanalytic approaches that are co-extensive with the relational turn. Because relational and intersubjective perspectives have not been properly critiqued from within their own schools of discourse, many of the contributors assembled here subject advocates of the American Middle School to a thorough critique of their theoretical assumptions, limitations, and practices. If not for any other reason, this project is of timely significance for the field of psychoanalysis and the competing psychotherapies because it attempts to address the philosophical undergirding of the relational movement.

    "This text contains many well reasoned arguments . . .it contains much thoughtful and provocative writing. This book will be of interest to mental health professionals who want detailed explanations of the theoretical, particularly philosophical basis for contemporary psychoanalysis, and to cademic psychotherapists and philosophers with a direct interest in the subject."--Canadian Psychologist

    "This book is a superb indictment of the philosophical pretensions of relational and intersubjective theory. Well written and carefully edited, Jon Mills manages what no one else has done: to place contemporary psychoanalytic theory in historical and intellectual context. The papers are informed, fair where appropriate , and stinging in their criticism where needed."—Charles B. Strozier, Ph.D., Author of, Heinz Kohut: The Making of a Psychoanalyst

    "All those with an interest in the philosophical underpinnings of current psychoanalytic debates and controversies will want to read Relational and Intersubjective Perspectives in Psychoanalysis. These papers are often tendentious and contentious, but perhaps just on this account they provoke thought and force a clarification of fundamental assumptions and a confrontation with key questions in our field."—Lewis Aron, Ph.D., Director, New York University, Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy & Psychoanalysis

    Contributors include Roger Frie, Bruce Ries, M. Guy Thompson, Jon Frederickson, Peter L. Giovacchini, Philip Giovacchini, Frank Summers,Timothy J. Zeddies, David L. Downing, Marilyn Nissim-Sabat, Robert Langs, Gershon J. Molad, Judith E. Vida, Jon Mills, and Robert S. Wallerstein.

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    Psychoanalysis at the Limit:
    Epistemology, Mind, and the Question of Science
    (Albany: SUNY Press, 2004), pp. 203.

    Examines the question of science, epistemology, and unconscious experience in psychoanalytic theory and practice.

    Psychoanalysis has long been charged as being a pseudoscience. This timely book explores and reexamines the nature of psychoanalysis within contemporary debates about science, epistemology, unconscious experience, and the philosophy of mind. Distinguished scholars and practitioners from diverse backgrounds in psychoanalysis, philosophy, and psychology offer both favorable and critical accounts of psychoanalytic theory and practice from Freud and Lacan through contemporary revisionist philosophical perspectives.

    "A noteworthy book that bases psychoanalysis's scientific status on philosophical considerations."---Psychologist-Psychoanalyst

    "The scholarship is first rate-a delightful read." - David E. Shaner, coauthor of Science and Comparative Philosophy: Introducing Yuasa Yasuo

    Contributors include Marcia Cavell, James C. Edwards, Roger Frie, Adolf Grünbaum, Donald Levy, Joseph Margolis, Jon Mills, David Livingstone Smith, and M. Guy Thompson.

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    Rereading Freud:
    Psychoanalysis through Philosophy
    (Albany: SUNY Press, 2004), pp. 224.

    Continental philosophers examine Freud's metapsychology.

    Rereading Freud assembles eminent philosophical scholars and clinical practitioners from continental, pragmatic, feminist, and psychoanalytic paradigms to examine Freud's metapsychology. Fundamentally distorted and misinterpreted by generations of English speaking commentators, Freud's theories are frequently misunderstood within psychoanalysis today. This book celebrates and philosophically critiques Freud's most important contribution to understanding humanity: that psychic reality is governed by the unconscious mind. The contributors focus on several of Freud's most influential theories, including the nature and structure of dreams; infantile sexuality; drive and defense; ego development; symptom formation; feminine psychology; the therapeutic process; death; and the question of race. In so doing, they shed light on the ontological commitments Freud introduces in his metapsychology and the implications generated for engaging theoretical, clinical, and applied modes of philosophical inquiry.

    "Mills is very much alive in contemporary psychoanalysis . . .his rereading of Freud and concern regarding false dichotomies and Freud's location in contemporary practice deserves to be taken seriously by any practitioner attracted to Freud's project and the contemporary scence."--Psychologist-Psychoanalyst

    "This timely book makes a profoundly significant contribution to research concerning the philosophical implications of Freud's thought. The rich array of perspectives by leading scholars will reinvigorate intellectual discourse in Freud studies for years to come. This is an extraordinary undertaking that is long overdue." - David Pettigrew, cotranslator of The Book of Love and Pain: Thinking at the Limit with Freud and Lacan

    Contributors include Jon Mills, Tom Rockmore, Stephen David Ross, John Russon, John Sallis, Shannon Sullivan, Maria Talero, Wilfried Ver Eecke, Bruce Wilshire, and Emily Zakin.

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    When God Wept - a novel
    (Island Park, NY: Whittier Publications, 2003) pp.150.

    Chicago psychologist, Dr. Owen Ross, is a man who after enduring a lifetime of personal pain realizes that his life has become empty and meaningless. Afflicted by an insidious apathy, he no longer cares or feels compassion for others. Upon getting divorced, he reassesses the events that constitute his life, and throughout the course of one day, becomes horrified by his existence. Living in a godless universe, Ross is forced to come to terms with his mother’s suicide, his father’s religiosity, his daughter’s death, and the undisclosed love he has for a female co-worker. Depicting the toils of human existence within the decay of modern society, this novel is a journey into the human soul, examining the greater questions of authenticity, life and death, immortality, and the personal power of transcendence. Regardless of one’s background, the reader will identify with the universal themes that preoccupy us all.

    “From the painful beginning Mills weaves a dense and compelling psychological meditation on the absence of meaning in contemporary life. Reminiscent at times of Sartre’s Nausea, Mills’ book moves through a series of powerful recognitions to a surprising and shocking end. This is a thoughtful novel, full of challenging reflections. There are few books I’ve read in one sitting. Mills’ is among them.”

    -Walter A. Davis, Professor of English, Ohio State University; author of Get the Guests: Psychoanalysis, Modern American Drama, and the Audience and The Holocaust Memorial: A Play about Hiroshima

    “In a wonderfully perceptive account of human inadequacy, Mills reveals many of the most troubling ills of the modern world. This is a beautifully crafted, totally absorbing book.”

    -John Lachs, Centennial Professor of Philosophy, Vanderbilt University; author of In Love with Life

    “Mills’ powerful and reflective novel is destined to have the same impact on twenty-first century readers that Sartre, Camus, and Kafka had on the twentieth. A splendid, contemporary achievement!

    -M. Guy Thompson, Director, Free Association, Inc., San Francisco; Past President, International Federation for Psychoanalytic Education; author of The Death of Desire

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    The Unconscious Abyss:
    Hegel’s Anticipation of Psychoanalysis
    (Albany: SUNY Press, 2002), pp. 320.

    The first extended treatment of Hegel’s theory of the unconscious and his anticipation of Freud.

    "A highly successful tour de force by Mills . . .a remarkable book . . .in the manner and content of Mills' exposition of both Hegel's and Freud's ideas." --- Psychologist-Psychoanalyst

    "This is an ambitious, scholarly project at which Mills succeeds admirably. . .Mills's lucid analysis of Hegel's philosophy challenges the clinician to think in new and unnaccustomed ways. And I can hardly think of a better reason to recommend a book."--- Contemporary Psychoanalysis

    "Mills explores, in an intellectually rigorous and detailed way, the Hegelian notion of the abyss (Ungrund) as a precursor to the psychoanalytic concept of the unconscious. . .Mills's book is important and timely because it broadens and deepens our understanding of Freud. . .His effort here demands our attention." --- Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences

    “Mills works out a splendid examination of the many vicissitudes of Hegel’s account of the unconscious, and also offers a tremendously helpful and perceptive historical introduction that situates Hegel’s own theory in terms of its antecedents and influences, as well as a fascinating discussion of the ways in which Hegel’s theory may be brought into dialogue with Freudian psychoanalytic thought. The book shows not only how intrinsically interesting Hegel’s thinking about the unconscious is, but also how it is both an imaginative extension of prior speculation as well as a provocative anticipation of twentieth-century preoccupation with the unconscious. This is absolutely a splendid piece of work!”

    -Daniel Berthold-Bond, Bard College, author of Hegel’s Theory of Madness and Hegel’s Grand Synthesis.

    “Mills succeeds admirably in demonstrating the pertinence of Hegel to psychoanalysis. His thorough and historically well-grounded treatment of Hegel’s theory of the unconscious opens the space in which Hegel’s theory can be brought into productive dialogue with Freudian and psot-Freudian psychoanalytic thought.”

    -John Sallis, Penn State University, author of Force of Imagination, Delimitations, and Being and Logos.

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    A Pedagogy of Becoming

    (Amsterdam/New York: Rodopi, 2002), Edited, pp. 236.

    “Jon Mills has edited a timely volume of studies speaking to the heart of perennial and contemporary issues facing education: the role of wisdom, the value of virtue, the urgency of empathy, the effectiveness of dialogue, the mysticism of spirituality, and the impact of technology. These sharply written essays, anchored solidly in theory but offering plenty of practical advice, crystallize many of the concerns in higher education today.”

    -George David Miller, Lewis University, author of Negotiating Toward Truth, On Education and Values, and An Idiosyncratic Ethics.

    "The authors have credible backgrounds, largely in academic philosophy and psychology. Readers interested in educational philosophy, holistic education, or teaching in general will find this material thoughtful, readable, and in many cases classroom-tested. Recommended for upper-division undergraduates and above."


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    The Human Aspect:
    Selected Works in Psychoanalysis, Behaviorism, and Existential Phenomenology

    (Long Beach, NY: Whittier, 1999), Edited, pp. 348.

    This volume contains a treatise on human nature depicted by some of the greatest thinkers of the twentieth-century. These selected original texts represent three cardinal movements that span the history of modern psychology: psychoanalysis, with its emphasis on the dynamic unconscious; behaviorism, with its emphasis on learning and the environment; and existential phenomenology, with its emphasis on the ontological dimensions of being and the lived experience. Any serious student of the behavioral sciences and humanities will want to be acquainted with these major ideas of our time.

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    The Ontology of Prejudice

    (Amsterdam/Atlanta: Rodopi, 1997), coauthored with Janusz A. Polanowski, pp. 200.

    This book offers a bold and controversial new thesis regarding prejudice and ethical valuation.

    “Whatever their moral, political, and metaphysical commitments, readers will profit from measuring their ideas against the standard, or challenge, set by this book. Enlightened or infuriated, they will enjoy the exhilaration that comes from the clash of ideas. They will also learn respect for the thoughtfulness and integrity of the authors.”

    -John Lachs, Vanderbilt University, author of In Love with Life, The Cost of Comfort, and The Relevance of Philosophy to Life.

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