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Lake, D.A. (1987). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child. XXXVIII, 1983: Is Testing Psychoanalytic Hypotheses in the Psychoanalytic Situation Really Impossible? Marshall Edelson. Pp. 61-109.. Psychoanal Q., 56:410.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Psychoanalytic Study of the Child. XXXVIII, 1983: Is Testing Psychoanalytic Hypotheses in the Psychoanalytic Situation Really Impossible? Marshall Edelson. Pp. 61-109.

(1987). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 56:410

Psychoanalytic Study of the Child. XXXVIII, 1983: Is Testing Psychoanalytic Hypotheses in the Psychoanalytic Situation Really Impossible? Marshall Edelson. Pp. 61-109.

David A. Lake

The author argues against the recent trend—following Grünbaum—to redefine psychoanalysis as a hermeneutic discipline because its hypotheses are not scientifically testable in the psychoanalytic situation. Is psychoanalysis a natural science? Three ways to support a hypothesis are: enumerative inductivism (a hypothesis is supported if a number of instances of its applicability can be described), falsificationism (a hypothesis is corroborated if a rigorous, empirical test to falsify it fails), and eliminative inductivism (a hypothesis is supported if evidence shows it preferable to rival hypotheses and if the evidence has been obtained in a manner that eliminates other plausible explanations). Edelson traces Freud's 1917 statement that interpretations are rejected if they do not tally with the patient's psychological reality. This "tally argument" has been attacked by Grünbaum, who believes that data obtained in the psychoanalytic situation are inevitably too contaminated to provide validation of theory. Edelson rejects the restrictiveness of current scientific methods of validation. He favors consideration of less powerful, supplementary means for obtaining support for hypotheses. Citing some of Freud's case examples, he argues that hypotheses can be scientifically tested in the non-experimental, non-quantitative, single case study, but he urges a greater regard for disciplined scientific reasoning within the psychoanalytic community.

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Article Citation

Lake, D.A. (1987). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child. XXXVIII, 1983. Psychoanal. Q., 56:410

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