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Tip: To sort articles by source…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

After you perform a search, you can sort the articles by Source. This will rearrange the results of your search, displaying articles according to their appearance in journals and books. This feature is useful for tracing psychoanalytic concepts in a specific psychoanalytic tradition.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Mizen, R. (2011). Taylor, D. ‘Psychoanalytic approaches and outcome research: Negative capability or irritable reaching after fact and reason?’ Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 24, 4, December 2010.. J. Anal. Psychol., 56(4):564-566.

(2011). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 56(4):564-566

Taylor, D. ‘Psychoanalytic approaches and outcome research: Negative capability or irritable reaching after fact and reason?’ Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 24, 4, December 2010.

Review by:
Richard Mizen

Empirical research and psychoanalysis have not been comfortable bedfellows. The tone was set by Freud in his summary dismissal of Rosenzweig's experiments as ‘unnecessary’, contemptuously adding ‘Still, it can do no harm’ (Gay 1998). Various reasons have been advanced for Freud's hostility, including the indifference, if not antipathy, with which his ideas were originally received by the academic world. More often, however, it is the purported irrelevance or inapplicability of empirical science that is cited. This science, it is contended, deals with cause and effect. By contrast, psychoanalysis concerns meaning and is a matter of hermeneutics; any attempt to understand psyche from the perspective of the science of mathematics and logic must, therefore, be by definition profoundly mistaken in so far as it involves a fundamental category error: the confusion of the world of meaning and symbols with the world of signs and information (Meltzer 1986).

Taylor takes as his starting point this dichotomy or rather what he views as the dichotomization of these positions. Using the figures of John Keats and Sir Francis Bacon, who have acquired the status of personifying them, he explores how far they are really as polarized as they are supposed to be. Following Bion, analysts have widely drawn upon Keats's idea of negative capability to develop and illuminate an important and arguably defining aspect of what Schaffer calls the ‘analytic attitude’ (Schaffer 1983); the capacity to develop and maintain an open mind and eschew premature or precipitate judgements about the meaning or nature of patients’ material.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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