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Shevrin, H. (1995). Is Psychoanalysis One Science, Two Sciences, Or No Science At All? A Discourse Among Friendly Antagonists. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 43:963-986.

(1995). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 43:963-986

Is Psychoanalysis One Science, Two Sciences, Or No Science At All? A Discourse Among Friendly Antagonists

Howard Shevrin

Howard Shevrin, Ph.D.

When I was invited to give this plenary address I surmised that people would be interested in learning about my research. The invitation also offered the opportunity to place my research in the broader context of research in psychoanalysis, a complex and even controversial subject. What you will hear is my attempt to present that context in the form of a discourse among friendly antagonists. My research will be introduced at an appropriate point so that its relevance to the larger picture of research in psychoanalysis can be evaluated.


On a rainy August afternoon, somewhere near Amagansett, three psychoanalysts gather in the summer home of Professor di Sapienza, an academic colleague who is a psychologist knowledgeable in the philosophy of science.

Dr. Case is a staunch believer in the primacy of the clinical situation as the bedrock of psychoanalytic science.

This presentation has benefited from suggestions made by its many helpful readers, including members of my clinical research team—Drs. James Bond, Linda Brakel, and Richard Hertel—who patiently read through version after version, and members of my laboratory research group—Drs. Scott Bunce, Steven Hibbard, Michael Snodgrass, and Philip Wong. I am also especially grateful to Dr.

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