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Gonchar, J. (1992). Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought. XIII, 1990: A Strategy for the Clinical Validation of Psychoanalytic Theory. Eric Gillett. Pp. 289-309.. Psychoanal Q., 61:318.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought. XIII, 1990: A Strategy for the Clinical Validation of Psychoanalytic Theory. Eric Gillett. Pp. 289-309.

(1992). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 61:318

Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought. XIII, 1990: A Strategy for the Clinical Validation of Psychoanalytic Theory. Eric Gillett. Pp. 289-309.

Joel Gonchar

In this paper Gillett develops a strategy for the clinical testing of psychoanalytic theories which was suggested by Adolf Grünbaum's critique, The Foundations of Psychoanalysis. Grünbaum's example, taken from the game of billiards, is that we can causally infer that when one billiard ball strikes another the acceleration of the second ball results from its impact with the first. According to Grünbaum, this situation is prototypical of the single case validation of psychoanalytic hypotheses which are without control groups; he is therefore dubious about validating Freud's long-term etiological hypotheses this way. According to Gillett, philosophers of science have not yet been able to set rules for measuring the degree of probability or confirmation that a body of evidence confers on a given theory. Gillett disagrees with Grünbaum and believes that the "billiards principle" can be used to justify causal inferences over a wide range of clinical phenomena. Gillett's research strategy would involve collecting a large number of clinical reports and abstracting out certain typical patterns which could be partially explained by psychoanalytic propositions. Competing hypotheses would also be used to see if they fit the data better. If psychoanalytic propositions fit the data best and provide the only plausible explanation available, this would be evidence to confirm the psychoanlaytic theories.


WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.
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Article Citation

Gonchar, J. (1992). Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought. XIII, 1990. Psychoanal. Q., 61:318

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WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.