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Bouchard, M. (2015). Comment on “Exploring Theory Integration in Psychoanalysis”. Canadian J. Psychoanal., 23(2):290-294.

(2015). Canadian Journal of Psychoanalysis, 23(2):290-294

Comment on “Exploring Theory Integration in Psychoanalysis” Related Papers

Marc-André Bouchard, Ph.D.

This report addresses a fundamental epistemological and methodological imbalance that characterizes psychoanalysis (and other disciplinary fields within the humanities) between the abundance of schools, concepts, and models on the one hand, and the scarcity of factual clinical observation that test our theories. This relates to the well-known distinction introduced by Reichenbach, between the context of discovery, a legitimate province of philosophy, concerned with the induction and construction of concepts, and the context of justification, verification, and proof, concerning the truth or falsity of our hypotheses, which he felt was the concern of psychology. As recalled by Brook and Hanly in this volume, psychoanalytic theorizing has tended, through an abundant exploration of possibilities, to generate and advocate contradictory and contrary theories “with sublime indifference to logic.” Further, the authors remind us that our hypotheses are too seldom submitted to “the test of fact and clinical confirmation or rejection.” Instead, perhaps as a result of a significant limitation in our methodology, we end up with “the formation of yet another new school.”

Attempting to correct this imbalance, this contribution describes a methodology that does not so much seek to establish which alternative theory is true but “only what clinical and extra-clinical evidence bears upon its truth.”

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