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Steele, R.S. (1979). Psychoanalysis and Hermeneutics. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 6:389-411.

(1979). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 6:389-411

Psychoanalysis and Hermeneutics

Robert S. Steele


Psychoanalysis is unquestionably a form of hermeneutics. Freud's method, along with his conceptualization of understanding as being established in language between two people, locates interpretation at the core of psychoanalysis. While its status as a natural or social science is problematic, the congruity of Freud's ideas with those of modern hermeneutics on self-reflection, meaning, and validity allow us to see psychoanalysis as paradigmatic for disciplines concerned with increasing self-understanding and understanding between people by interpretation of what is latent, unconscious, or poorly understood.

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