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Burying Freud

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

Dr. Ivan Goldberg writes: "It is hard to see how anyone with the slightest respect for the scientific method would not agree that Freud's speculations are not scientific hypotheses." It is unclear from Dr. Goldberg's brief comments precisely what methodology he requires for a mere "speculation" to qualify as a "scientific hypothesis." Does it help at all if the speculation is later shown to be more than likely accurate? Consider one example cited by Carl Sagan:

"There is a striking correlation of penile or clitoral erection with REM sleep, even when the manifest dream content has no overt sexual aspects whatever. In primates, such erections are connected with sex (of course!), aggression, and the maintenance of social hierarchies.

Freud held that the great majority, perhaps all, of the "psychic energy" of our primary-process emotions and dream material is sexual in origin. The absolutely essential role of sexual interest in providing for the propagation of the species makes this idea neither as silly nor as depraved as it appeared to many of Freud's Victorian contemporaries. Jung, for example, held that Freud had severely overstated the primacy of sex in the affairs of the unconscious. But now, three-quarters of a century later, experiments in the laboratories of Dement and other psychologists appear to support Freud. It would require a very dedicated Puritanism to deny the connection between penile or clitoral erection and sex. It seems to follow that sex and dreams are not casually or incidentally connected, but rather have deep and fundamental ties---although dreams certainly partake of ritual, aggressive and hierarchical material as well. Particularly considering the state of sexual repression in late-nineteenth century Viennese society, many of Freud's insights seem hard-won and courageous, as well as valid."

Freud is not the only scientist whose theories have had to await advances in technology or in neighboring fields of inquiry to achieve validation. Einstein, for example, died before experiments confirmed the accuracy of his speculation concerning the effect of gravity on light. We should be grateful that Professor Tallis saw fit not to bury him in the interim.

Respectfully,

Rolf Hamburger
November, 1996

 


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

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Burying Freud

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

Dr. Ivan Goldberg writes: "It is hard to see how anyone with the slightest respect for the scientific method would not agree that Freud's speculations are not scientific hypotheses." It is unclear from Dr. Goldberg's brief comments precisely what methodology he requires for a mere "speculation" to qualify as a "scientific hypothesis." Does it help at all if the speculation is later shown to be more than likely accurate? Consider one example cited by Carl Sagan:

"There is a striking correlation of penile or clitoral erection with REM sleep, even when the manifest dream content has no overt sexual aspects whatever. In primates, such erections are connected with sex (of course!), aggression, and the maintenance of social hierarchies.

Freud held that the great majority, perhaps all, of the "psychic energy" of our primary-process emotions and dream material is sexual in origin. The absolutely essential role of sexual interest in providing for the propagation of the species makes this idea neither as silly nor as depraved as it appeared to many of Freud's Victorian contemporaries. Jung, for example, held that Freud had severely overstated the primacy of sex in the affairs of the unconscious. But now, three-quarters of a century later, experiments in the laboratories of Dement and other psychologists appear to support Freud. It would require a very dedicated Puritanism to deny the connection between penile or clitoral erection and sex. It seems to follow that sex and dreams are not casually or incidentally connected, but rather have deep and fundamental ties---although dreams certainly partake of ritual, aggressive and hierarchical material as well. Particularly considering the state of sexual repression in late-nineteenth century Viennese society, many of Freud's insights seem hard-won and courageous, as well as valid."

Freud is not the only scientist whose theories have had to await advances in technology or in neighboring fields of inquiry to achieve validation. Einstein, for example, died before experiments confirmed the accuracy of his speculation concerning the effect of gravity on light. We should be grateful that Professor Tallis saw fit not to bury him in the interim.

Respectfully,

Rolf Hamburger
November, 1996

 


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 |