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Burying Freud

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

Freud: Ad Hominem versus the cult of Empiricism

A few belated thoughts about psychoanalysis under siege defending itself at the millennium's edge:

1. "ad hominem." Perhaps this is exactly the point. Psychoanalysis is about the person. Rather than trying to truncate psychoanalysis and reify it into just some variant of science---today's cult of choice---it makes much better sense to maintain that tense, uncomfortable and paradoxical relationship between Freud's uncanny decentering of human nature (naming the unconscious) and a discipline of thought regarding the meaning of human passion, fantasy and action. Neither science nor myth. (We are) some of both.

And shouldn't we refuse to reduce human experience to what is measurable, whether for the sake of profit, convenience, respectability, expediency or mastery?

2. For better or for worse the unconscious will easily survive the anxious and circular attack of empiricists who would prefer to believe that only what can be scrutinized by the scientific method is real. The question is not the reality of the unconscious, but how it will be considered, respected, spoken about.

3. And how can we not ask about their motivations? How is this not about anxiety, power, intellectual hegemony, a claim to legislate what is and what is not that flies squarely in the face of ordinary and extraordinary experience? How else to understand this than as an expression of will and power to oppose the uncertainty and liveliness of all in human experience that resists measurement, outcome studies, proofs of efficacy and other absurd conceits of our silly times.

I would suggest that all the attempts to counter such arguments by accepting their basic premise---if it isn't science it isn't real---sadly and self-effacingly miss the point.

If it's either ad hominem or ad absurdum---I'll stay on the side of the person.

Paul Hamburg MD
Harvard Medical School

 


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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 ]

Freud: Ad Hominem versus the cult of Empiricism

A few belated thoughts about psychoanalysis under siege defending itself at the millennium's edge:

1. "ad hominem." Perhaps this is exactly the point. Psychoanalysis is about the person. Rather than trying to truncate psychoanalysis and reify it into just some variant of science---today's cult of choice---it makes much better sense to maintain that tense, uncomfortable and paradoxical relationship between Freud's uncanny decentering of human nature (naming the unconscious) and a discipline of thought regarding the meaning of human passion, fantasy and action. Neither science nor myth. (We are) some of both.

And shouldn't we refuse to reduce human experience to what is measurable, whether for the sake of profit, convenience, respectability, expediency or mastery?

2. For better or for worse the unconscious will easily survive the anxious and circular attack of empiricists who would prefer to believe that only what can be scrutinized by the scientific method is real. The question is not the reality of the unconscious, but how it will be considered, respected, spoken about.

3. And how can we not ask about their motivations? How is this not about anxiety, power, intellectual hegemony, a claim to legislate what is and what is not that flies squarely in the face of ordinary and extraordinary experience? How else to understand this than as an expression of will and power to oppose the uncertainty and liveliness of all in human experience that resists measurement, outcome studies, proofs of efficacy and other absurd conceits of our silly times.

I would suggest that all the attempts to counter such arguments by accepting their basic premise---if it isn't science it isn't real---sadly and self-effacingly miss the point.

If it's either ad hominem or ad absurdum---I'll stay on the side of the person.

Paul Hamburg MD
Harvard Medical School

 


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 |