Heythrop College Publications

Lacewing, Michael (2013) Could psychoanalysis be a science? In: Fulford, KWM, Davies, Martin, Gipps, Richard, Graham, George, Sadler, John, Stanghellini, Giovani, Thornton, Tim, (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Psychiatry. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 1103-1127. [Book section]

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    Abstract

    Could psychoanalysis be a science? There are three ways of reading this question, which will structure the discussion: 1. Is psychoanalysis the kind of investigation or activity that could, logically speaking, be ‘scientific’? If we can defend a positive answer here, then it makes sense to ask: 2. Is psychoanalysis, in the form in which it has traditionally been practiced, and continues to be practiced, a science? If there are good reasons to doubt its credentials, then we might ask: 3. Is psychoanalysis able to become a science? This is a question about what is needed for the necessary transformation. I shall argue that psychoanalysis can be a science (§1), but that the historical debate raised important challenges to its methodology, viz. confirmation bias (§2.1), suggestion (§2.2), and unsupportable causal inference (§2.3). I argue that recent developments (§3.1-2) meet these challenges, and conclude with some reflections on the interdisciplinary nature of psychoanalysis (§3.3).

    Item Type: Book section
    Department: Philosophy
    Depositing User: Dr Michael Lacewing
    Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2012 20:59
    Last Modified: 11 Aug 2014 10:01
    URI: http://publications.heythrop.ac.uk/id/eprint/1489

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