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Richard Lichtman


1931 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Richard Lichtman Obituary
Richard Lichtman

March 26, 1931 - March 16, 2018

Richard Lichtman passed away unexpectedly on March 16, 2018 at his home in the East Bay. Prof. Lichtman was born in 1931 in Brooklyn, New York, the only child of Nathan and Beatty Lichtman. He attended Yale University and earned a Ph.D. in philosophy. While serving in the military, he was asked by a superior officer to teach soldiers about Communism so they would better know their enemy. Being a philosopher he thought, "I could do that." But while reading Marx in preparation to teach he found he was drawn to the theory he was reading, and became committed for life to developing a Marxist theory of our social reality and psychological experience. This quest led him to study psychology (he would later earn a Masters degree in Psychology), the subjective dimension of that reality that many Marxists believed was missing in Marxism. In 1981 he published The Production of Desire (Free Press), an exploration of the interface between social reality and individual experience, an integration of Marx and Freud aimed at providing the basis for a systematic account of that dimension.

Prof. Lichtman began his teaching career at the University of California at the peak of 1960's radical social activism. He was an instant success teaching the radical students some theory to bolster their activism. When, because of his political views, he was passed over for tenure and thus no longer paid to teach at Berkeley, the Associated Student Union allocated funds to permit him to continue teaching at Cal. Since the late 1970s he has been teaching at The Wright Institute, a graduate school of clinical psychology. His books also include Essays in Critical Social Theory (1993) and Dying in America (2001).

Prof. Lichtman also conducted state-funded research on the relationship of unemployment and mental illness. He has been a visiting scholar in several institutions, notably The Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions in Santa Barbara, where he was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant, and he has served as expert witness on issues of labor and mental health.
Richard Lichtman was the teacher and mentor of very many in the Radical 60s Movements. A loving partner, father and friend, he continued teaching and writing until his death.

Professor Lichtman is survived by his partner, Dr. Barbara Artson, his three sons, Robert Lichtman, Kenneth Lichtman and Jan Schiffer, and very many close friends.

A Memorial will occur on May 6, 2018, from 2 PM until 5PM, at the Northbrae Community Church, 951 The Alameda, Berkeley, CA 94707. Queries to .

Donations may be made in his name to the social justice organization of your choice.

Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Apr. 2, 2018
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