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Holland, R. (1990). Scientificity and Psychoanalysis: Insights from the Controversial Discussions. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 17:133-158.

(1990). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 17:133-158

Scientificity and Psychoanalysis: Insights from the Controversial Discussions

Ray Holland


It is argued that the Controversial Discussions and their associated interchanges are of paramount importance not only for understanding the dynamics of highly charged debate but for appreciation of the indispensable foundation they provide for a distinctively human science. Freud, in his travels through physiological and natural sciences and onward into the sphere of distinctively human phenomena such as meanings and symbolism (conscious and unconscious), created ambiguous images of 'scientific' criteria. The debates among his followers and critics became tangled with these ambiguities, so that scientificity was appealed to and used in a dozen different ways. And yet their mutual commitment to the idea of a single truth allowed them no escape from the struggle to justify their respective positions.

From a metatheoretical standpoint made available by hindsight we no longer have to choose one disputant over another, but can inherit the fruits of their intellectual and emotional labours in the form of a body of knowledge which exemplifies the reflexive qualities of human existence.

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