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Spence, D.P. (1991). Two Patterns of Rationality in Freud's Writings: By Steven E. Goldberg. Tuscaloosa, AL: The University of Alabama Press. 1988. Pp. xi + 207.. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 18:281-283.

(1991). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 18:281-283

Two Patterns of Rationality in Freud's Writings: By Steven E. Goldberg. Tuscaloosa, AL: The University of Alabama Press. 1988. Pp. xi + 207.

Review by:
Donald P. Spence

Writing to Jung in 1911, Freud admitted that 'I was not at all cut out to be an inductive researcher—I was entirely meant for intuition (cited in Mahony, 1987p. 17). Some 20 years before this letter was written, he had published a study of 35 cases of hemiplegia in cerebral palsy, and the next year, one of his students had carried out a related study which was based on 53 cases. As a young student working in a comparative anatomy lab, Freud had dissected some 400 eels in an investigation of their underlying gonadic structure. And in the course of developing his ill-fated theory of infantile seduction to account for the later onset of adult neurosis, Freud had proudly presented a series of 18 cases all of which supported the target hypothesis.

But this was to be his last systematic attempt to work by the rules of Galilean science and draw his conclusions from a series of repeated observations. Beginning with 'The interpretation of dreams' and then continuing into his five case studies, Freud turned away from the law of large numbers and began to focus more and more on the best example as a way of proving his point. It is noteworthy that the word specimen appears repeatedly in 'The interpretation of dreams', and it is common knowledge that his dream analyses are marked by the fascination with the particular detail that surrounded the dream and which made its context a unique object of study. In turning to the single case as the royal road to knowledge, Freud had turned away from a Galilean approach to the world and moved closer to an Aristotelian point of view.

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