Important IELTS Reading Practice Test, 19th March

Important IELTS Reading Practice Test, 19th March

IELTS Reading Practice Test – 1, Passage 3

Reading Passage 3

You should spend 20 minutes on question 27-40.

Wittgenstein on Freud

Ludwig von Wittgenstein has justly been regarded as one of the major philosophers of the twentieth century, especially for his writings on the philosophy of language and logic. His work on psychoanalysis and criticism of his fellow Viennese, Sigmund Freud, have, however, been generally overlooked.

Wittgenstein is both highly critical of and at the same time greatly admiring of Freud’s work. Perhaps it would be fairer to say that he is not critical so much of psychoanalysis as of Freud’s claims for it. For Freud, it was essential that his work be regarded as science: that he had developed a new branch of medicine based on scientific principles, having established causal relationships between behavior in childhood and that in adulthood. Wittgenstein, while accepting the usefulness of Freud’s method, disputes that these relationships are casual, therefore denying Freud’s theories scientific validity.

In casual relationship we can at least imagine contradictory cases. For example, I can imagine placing a pan of water on a hot stone and water freezing (of course I do not expect it to happen, and would be very surprised if it did). With Freud’s theory, however, this is not the case. One of the central planks of this theory is the pursuit of hidden meaning in such things as dreams, work of art, even language (the famous ‘Freudian slip). Take the example of dreams. For Freud these are all sexual wish-fulfilments. While is clear that some are, clearly some at least appear not to be. Freud, however, will not accept any contradiction to his theory, and argues that in these cases the sexual element is camouflaged, or even repressed. This is a stranger notion, for how can a dream fulfil a wish if the desire is so disguised that the dreamer does not even recognise it? More importantly, if under no circumstances will Freud allow his hypothesis to be contradicted, how can we verify it? It therefore behoves us to recongnise that, despite his assertions, Freud’s theories are not casual hypotheses, and thus not scientific.

One might ask, given this analysis, how Freud came to make this mistake, or rather why he believed that his explanations were casual. It is confusion between what we might call the ‘depth-grammar’ and the ‘surface-grammar’ of certain sentences. If we say ‘the window broke because the stone hit it’ we are outlining a casual relationship between the stone hitting the window and the window breaking, this being designated by the word ‘because’. However, if we say ‘he hit her because he was angry’, whilst it may appear that the word ‘because’ performs the same function, this is not the case. The similarity lies only on the surface; if we look at the depth-grammar we see that in the first sentences ‘because’ denotes a casual relationship, whereas in the second we are rather talking in terms of motivations, reasons and other non-casual terms. Freud’s mistakes, therefore, is to believe that both types of sentences are similar: he confuses the surfaces-grammar.

Despite all this confusion, I have stated that Wittgenstein was highly appreciative of Freud’s work and this because he essentially reformulates what Freud was trying to do. Freud believed that he was explaining people’s behaviour, while Wittgenstein suggests that he is redescribing it. To him, Freud is providing a ‘picture’ of human behaviour which may enable us to make certain connections that other ways of looking would not reveal, and by showing these patterns and connections the method may well have therapeutic value. In the case, although the ‘picture’ described by Freud’s method is not a true one (for by Wittgenstein’s arguments it cannot be), nevertheless it is unique, enabling the patient to have insights into their problems that no other method could provide.     

Questions 27-32

Do the statements below agree with the information in Reading Passage 3?

In boxes 27-32, write

YES                    if the statement agrees with the information in the passage

NO                     if the statement contradicts the information in the passage

NOT GIVEN      if there is no information about the statement in the passage

Example:  Wittgenstein was from Vienna.

Answer: Yes.

27. Wittgenstein was a great moral philosopher.

28. Wittgenstein owes the high regard in which he is held, in part, to his work on the philosophy of language and logic.

29. Wittgenstein totally admired Freud’s work without any reservation.

30. Wittgenstein supports Freud’s claims as to the casual relationship between childhood behavior and that in adulthood.

31. Freud’s theory on casual relationships enjoys considerable support in spite of Wittgenstein’s objections.

32. The writer agrees with Wittgenstein that Freud’s theory re casual hypotheses is not scientific.

Questions 33-40

Complete the text below. Use one word only from the passage for each blank space. Write your answers in boxes 33-40 on your answer sheet.

You may use a word once only.

Example: The writer asks how Freud came to make this ……………………………………….

Answer: Mistake.

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Despite ……………..33………………. confusion regarding surface-grammar, Wittgenstein held his work in high regard.

Freud believed that he was ……………………..34………………………… people’s behavior, while to Wittgenstein he was merely …………………………..35…………………………. it. In other words, Wittgenstein believes that Freud provides a …………………………36……………………..of human behavior, which allows us to look at things in different ways. This, according to Wittgenstein may be ………………..37………………… .

According to the writer, although Freud’s ‘picture’ is not genuine, still it is ……………………….38……………. .  It allows the …………………..39………………. to have ………………….40……………… into his or her problems.

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Important IELTS Reading Practice Test, 19th March
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Important IELTS Reading Practice Test, 19th March

Answers:-

27. NOT GIVEN

28. YES

29. NO

30. NO

31. NOT GIVEN

32. YES

33. Freud’s

34. Explaining

35. Redescribing.

36. Picture.

37. Therapeutic.

38. Unique

39. Patient

40. Insight(s)

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