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Makari, G.J. (2000). Change in Psychoanalysis: Science, Practice, and the Sociology of Knowledge. Changing Ideas In A Changing World: The Revolution in Psychoanalysis. Essays in Honour of Arnold Cooper, 255-262.

Makari, G.J. (2000). Change in Psychoanalysis. Changing Ideas In A Changing World: The Revolution in Psychoanalysis. Essays in Honour of Arnold Cooper, 255-262

Change in Psychoanalysis: Science, Practice, and the Sociology of Knowledge Book Information Previous Up

George J. Makari, M.D.

Psychoanalysis has been changing, and so it seems natural and important to consider how and why change takes place in our discipline. Of course, this is not a new question; it has been asked at crucial junctures by psychoanalysts since Freud. And as psychoanalysis grew as a cultural force, others — philosophers of science, sociologists, and historians — have weighed in on the matter. In this paper, I shall survey some of these differing accounts, and reflect upon what these differing perspectives tell us about the nature of the psychoanalytic enterprise.

Psychoanalytic Change and Scientific Knowledge

For change to be recognizable it must be measured against a background, a baseline. Perhaps the most common baseline by which change in psychoanalysis has been measured has been by comparison to science. If psychoanalysis is a science, then the patterns of change it manifests should correspond with change in science. But what characterizes change in science? How do individual scientists change theories? By what process does a scientific community adopt as true, or reject as false or anomalous, the changes proposed by an individual scientist? Does communal change occur by cumulative accretion or revolution? These are crucial interrelated questions for those who study the history and philosophy of science.

In

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