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Burying Freud

[ Burying Freud Homepage | Freud's Seduction Theory Homepage ]

In a message dated 96-04-25 15:08:12 EDT Professor Daniel Dupertuis, Universidad Nacional de la Plata, writes: Why did Freud fall for this theory of the libido? I believe he was forced to because of the restrictions that applied to scientific discourse in his time. He had no choice really if he was to be regarded as a scientist, and we know this was important to him.


Dear Prof. Dupertuis, Although Freud may have been eager to find acceptance for his ideas and praxis in the scientific community of his time, his need for an energy hypothesis was vital for an understanding of the special psychodynamics that was-- and still is-- the basis for Psychoanalysis. Without the agency of libido such notions as regression or withdrawal (of libido), repression or bottled up (libido), projection (of libido) and the transference/ coutertransference comingling (of libido) would be without their efficient cause. But just as important as that, is the active complement to the causal aspects of energy which you yourself point out:

Today we face similar problems. Psychology is so often circumscribed to an extraspective description of behavior called responsivity", that if we attempt a teleological description of behavior, we are left without a technical terminology to do so. Persuading psychologists to accept this possibility is often the most difficult obstacle, because they are still entrenched in the Newtonian traditions of the far origins of Psychology. Freud's dilemma was how to state that the human mind acted for the sake of intentional ends, without contradicting Newtonian discourse.

It is quite impossible to describe intensive and extensive psychological states without sacrificing the predicative and prognostic element that the movement (causal element), representational (symbolic function) and the telestic (final end) aspects of an energy (libido) hypothesis allows.

And because such libido is in ebb and flow, follows a principle of equivalence (conservation), it is hardly in imitation of the energy explanation required by the physicist. After all, neither psychologist or physicist are able to satisfactorily define energy (and not to be confused for "force" which is definable). The libido or energy hypothesis is simply an epistemic necessity where ever a dynamic is observed and understood. Scientific predictability would be hobbled without it. Furthermore, it is not possible to have a special epistemology for psychology and another for physics simply because epistemology, although it may address either, singularly expresses the nature of mind and concept formation. Otherwise we would be bending a theory of knowledge to suit a particular science or discipline and thus corrupt and alter any relation to the empirical object (or in the case of psychology, the subjective or "inner" (endopsychic) object. Only when epistemic rigour succumbs to the "correctness" of an "ism" does it languish as an ideology and thus brings to question its scientific veracity. In all cases, as Plato advised his colleagues, "do not lose sight of the *phaenomenon.*

Where Freud may have erred was in defining this energy too narrowly by confining it to a concept of sexual energy, and thus limiting it to substantial description for the sake of causal reduction. I do not know whether he performed this hypostasis to satisfy the criteria of physical science, or whether he was responding to the sexual dislocations of his time and himself. In any case, whatever his motives for fixing energy to sexual expression, by no means fatally diminishes the psychodynamic that he rendered understandable and serviceable.

His hypostasis of the broad term of psychic energy to sexual libido has, however, somewhat obscured the telestic aspect which is intrinsic to an understanding of energy, *per se.* It is thus gratifying, especially in defense of Dr. Freud, that you mentioned it.

Bernard X. Bovasso


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Ian Pitchford and Robert M. Young - Last updated: 28 May, 2005 02:29 PM

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 | Human Nature | The Human Nature Daily Review | Psychiatry Research Online |

Burying Freud

[ Burying Freud Homepage | Freud's Seduction Theory Homepage ]

In a message dated 96-04-25 15:08:12 EDT Professor Daniel Dupertuis, Universidad Nacional de la Plata, writes: Why did Freud fall for this theory of the libido? I believe he was forced to because of the restrictions that applied to scientific discourse in his time. He had no choice really if he was to be regarded as a scientist, and we know this was important to him.


Dear Prof. Dupertuis, Although Freud may have been eager to find acceptance for his ideas and praxis in the scientific community of his time, his need for an energy hypothesis was vital for an understanding of the special psychodynamics that was-- and still is-- the basis for Psychoanalysis. Without the agency of libido such notions as regression or withdrawal (of libido), repression or bottled up (libido), projection (of libido) and the transference/ coutertransference comingling (of libido) would be without their efficient cause. But just as important as that, is the active complement to the causal aspects of energy which you yourself point out:

Today we face similar problems. Psychology is so often circumscribed to an extraspective description of behavior called responsivity", that if we attempt a teleological description of behavior, we are left without a technical terminology to do so. Persuading psychologists to accept this possibility is often the most difficult obstacle, because they are still entrenched in the Newtonian traditions of the far origins of Psychology. Freud's dilemma was how to state that the human mind acted for the sake of intentional ends, without contradicting Newtonian discourse.

It is quite impossible to describe intensive and extensive psychological states without sacrificing the predicative and prognostic element that the movement (causal element), representational (symbolic function) and the telestic (final end) aspects of an energy (libido) hypothesis allows.

And because such libido is in ebb and flow, follows a principle of equivalence (conservation), it is hardly in imitation of the energy explanation required by the physicist. After all, neither psychologist or physicist are able to satisfactorily define energy (and not to be confused for "force" which is definable). The libido or energy hypothesis is simply an epistemic necessity where ever a dynamic is observed and understood. Scientific predictability would be hobbled without it. Furthermore, it is not possible to have a special epistemology for psychology and another for physics simply because epistemology, although it may address either, singularly expresses the nature of mind and concept formation. Otherwise we would be bending a theory of knowledge to suit a particular science or discipline and thus corrupt and alter any relation to the empirical object (or in the case of psychology, the subjective or "inner" (endopsychic) object. Only when epistemic rigour succumbs to the "correctness" of an "ism" does it languish as an ideology and thus brings to question its scientific veracity. In all cases, as Plato advised his colleagues, "do not lose sight of the *phaenomenon.*

Where Freud may have erred was in defining this energy too narrowly by confining it to a concept of sexual energy, and thus limiting it to substantial description for the sake of causal reduction. I do not know whether he performed this hypostasis to satisfy the criteria of physical science, or whether he was responding to the sexual dislocations of his time and himself. In any case, whatever his motives for fixing energy to sexual expression, by no means fatally diminishes the psychodynamic that he rendered understandable and serviceable.

His hypostasis of the broad term of psychic energy to sexual libido has, however, somewhat obscured the telestic aspect which is intrinsic to an understanding of energy, *per se.* It is thus gratifying, especially in defense of Dr. Freud, that you mentioned it.

Bernard X. Bovasso


human-nature.com
Ian Pitchford and Robert M. Young - Last updated: 28 May, 2005 02:29 PM

US -
 Search:
Keywords:  

Amazon.com logo

UK -
 Search:
Keywords:  

Amazon.co.uk logo

 | Human Nature | The Human Nature Daily Review | Psychiatry Research Online |