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Jalal, B. Settlage, B.L. Ramachandran, V.S. (2014). Science, epistemology, and future prospects for psychoanalysis. Neuropsychoanalysis, 16(2):115-127.

(2014). Neuropsychoanalysis, 16(2):115-127

Science, epistemology, and future prospects for psychoanalysis

Baland Jalal, Bonnie L. Settlage and Vilayanur S. Ramachandran

The question of whether or not psychoanalysis can be considered scientific has been the subject of considerable debate. While Popper classified psychoanalysis as prescientific (e.g., 1963), Grünbaum proposed that psychoanalysis is mostly falsifiable, and therefore is science, although bad science. Flax critiqued both Popper and Grünbaum for depending on positivistic criteria in their appraisal of psychoanalysis. Flax further argued that, in fact, due to the problematic nature of the Western scientific tradition, the question about whether psychoanalysis is a science cannot be answered. In contrast to Flax, we argue that there is no need to redefine the philosophies of science in order to accommodate psychoanalysis. Current developments suggest that science will in the future be better able to explain phenomena such as subjective experience, intersubjectivity, and mind–body interactions, and can potentially provide a solid framework for a scientific psychoanalysis – however, not to the exclusion of a hermeneutic-based psychoanalytic practice that should coexist, concerned with the art of interpretation.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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