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Boag, S. (2006). Response to Commentaries. Neuropsychoanalysis, 8(1):59-68.

(2006). Neuropsychoanalysis, 8(1):59-68

Response to Commentaries Related Papers

Simon Boag

My target article was a response to what I saw to be an ongoing problem in the neuroscientific dream debate: empirical findings were being used to either defend or attack Freud's theory of dreams, while the necessary conceptual work (i.e., providing a coherent and clear conceptualization of the theory before submitting to empirical scrutiny) was being neglected. In this respect I completely agree with Claudio Colace's statement that “the attempts to clarify and systematize the Freudian concepts are a preliminary task for every neuroscientific attempt to find the neural correlates of these.” I welcome the fact that many of the commentaries have seized upon various shortcomings in the target article and have added clarification and amplification of some important issues. I shall not, however, attempt to address the wide variety of thoughtful comments made but, instead, focus on what I consider to be some outstanding issues in this discussion, with a particular emphasis on shortcomings of alternative accounts.

The Superego as Censor

Several commentaries raise the important matter of the role of metaphor in science and discuss the importance of “cashing” these out into literal terms. As Agnes Petocz's commentary points out, however, metaphors are found in all branches of natural science, and the problem in scientific explanation is not with metaphors per se, but with determining precisely how far such metaphors map to the phenomenon in question. According to Cheshire and Thomä (1991), this involves “marking off the area of negative analogy,” which requires spelling out the relevant characteristics of both the phenomenon and metaphor and identifying the necessary points of contrast.

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