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Fourcher, L.A. (1996). The Authority of Logic and the Logic of Authority: The Import of the Grünbaum Debate for Psychoanalytically Informed Psychotherapy. Psychoanal. Dial., 6(4):515-532.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 6(4):515-532

The Authority of Logic and the Logic of Authority: The Import of the Grünbaum Debate for Psychoanalytically Informed Psychotherapy Related Papers

Louis A. Fourcher, Ph.D.

This paper assesses the implications of Grünbaum's critique of Freud's “science” for a discussion of the relation between theory and practice in psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapy. Guided by the work of the French sociologist, Bourdieu, it places Grünbaum's argument within a logic of intellectualism—a framework that tends to instrumentalize reason and romanticize practice, delineating the well-known territories of objectivism and subjectivism. Grünbaum's arguments within this logic are taken to be rhetorical maneuvers—such as valorizing the tally argument and then debunking it—aimed at rejuvenating an objectivistic approach to theory and practice. Grünbaum is successful insofar as much of the debate generated by his views accepts the terms of his intellectualist bias. It is suggested, however, that these are terms that have long been suspect; that, indeed, it was Freud who helped bring them into question; and that there is a broader framework of discourse that relativizes intellectualism within a dialectical opposition to “participationism.” A form of rationality founded in a nonconceptual knowledge of practice has begun to emerge within this more inclusive discourse under such rubrics as “social constructivist” and “relational” approaches to psychotherapy. It is argued that within the therapy situation a kind of “practical reason” can mitigate the controlling, instrumental authority of intellectualism as well as the collusive, sentimental servility of participationism.

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