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Joseph, E.D. (1975). Psychoanalysis—Science and Research: Twin Studies as a Paradigm. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 23:3-31.

(1975). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 23:3-31

Psychoanalysis—Science and Research: Twin Studies as a Paradigm

Edward D. Joseph, M.D.

ONE OF THE MANY COMPLAINTS made of psychoanalysis is that it is not scientific, but is based upon the findings of one man whose followers accept his word blindly, applying his ideas without attempts at validation, verification, and corroboration in ways acceptable to scientists.

In the comments that follow, I shall examine some of the concepts involved in the current understanding of the term science to see whether psychoanalysis should be included under the heading of science and I shall also discuss some problems of psychoanalytic research and examine studies of twins made by psychoanalysts and others, as a model of research.

Science and Research

To one engaged in a scientific field, science can be considered a body of facts or truths, systematically arranged and showing the operation of certain ideas, principles, or possible laws. A scientific attitude can then be said to be characterized by a reluctance to accept a statement as being true unless its validity is demonstrated and its relationship to pre-existing knowledge shown.

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