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Cavell, M. (1998). How Freud Left Science. Clark Glymour. Pp. 461-489. Psychoanal Q., 67(3):531-532.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: How Freud Left Science. Clark Glymour. Pp. 461-489

(1998). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 67(3):531-532

How Freud Left Science. Clark Glymour. Pp. 461-489

Marcia Cavell

How did the Freud who began his career as a cognitive scientist with a computational theory of the mind become the leader of a movement now widely regarded today as a marginal science? Glymour remarks that the point of asking this (tendentious) question is not to debunk Freud—though that will inevitably be the result—but to give warning “how easy it is to give up the search for truth … Freud is a moral lesson.” Glymour traces Freud's career through the two early

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accounts of the etiology of neuroses, his giving up of the seduction hypothesis (which, Glymour notes, Freud did officially only ten years after his initial troubled letter of 1896 to Fliess), his subsequent, disingenuous attempts to conceal his doubts about his own clinical methods, his worries about “experimenter effects” which he managed to submerge, and finally to The Interpretation of Dreams. By the end of this period Freud had replaced with a caricature the scientific methods he had learned early on from the physiologists. In The Interpretation of Dreams, Freud enunciated four good criteria for formulating a theory of dreams, none of which he himself observed (as Glymour points out). He concludes that Freud left the scientific community sometime after 1910, in the sense that he no longer published in scientific journals that were not run by his disciples, nor attended scientific meetings that were not organized by psychoanalysts.

Article Citation

Cavell, M. (1998). How Freud Left Science. Clark Glymour.. Psychoanal. Q., 67(3):531-532

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