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Solms, M. Saling, M. (1987). On Psychoanalysis and Neuroscience. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 68:548-549.

(1987). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 68:548-549

On Psychoanalysis and Neuroscience

Mark Solms and Michael Saling

Dear Dr Hayley,

Thank you for giving us this opportunity to reply to Michael Murphy's letter concerning our recent paper (Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 67: 397–416). We appreciate his interest in our paper.

Dr Murphy advances two basic arguments. The first of these consists in his statements that the theories of psychoanalysis and dynamic neuropsychology 'are ways of speaking about or grasping relationships that favour more adequate interpretation', that their only properties 'are those assigned by language convention', and that 'they are not true to any original; their fiction is their scientific value'. The only support that Dr Murphy advances for these radical claims is that he subscribes to Max Black's (1962) philosophy of models; and that, in accordance with this philosophy, he defines psychoanalysis and dynamic neuropsychology as 'theoretical' rather than 'analogue' models. Dr Murphy's argument is therefore an instance of the informal logical fallacy of argumentum ad verecundiam; an appeal to authority. Furthermore, Dr Murphy has evidently relied upon a secondary text for his reading of this authority, as the wording of his footnote suggests. Our own reading of Black (1962) reveals that he makes no specific mention of psychoanalysis or neuropsychology; that he does not believe that theoretical models 'are not true to any original', etc.;

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