, Volume 47, Issue 4, pp 959–976 | Cite as

Why Aren’t More Philosophers Interested in Freud? Re-Evaluating Philosophical Arguments against Psychoanalysis

  • Michael T. MichaelEmail author


Despite its profound influence on modern thought, psychoanalysis remains peripheral to the concerns of most analytic philosophers. I suggest that one of the main reasons for this is intellectual reservation, and explore some philosophical arguments against psychoanalysis that may be contributing to such reservation. Specifically, I address the objections that psychoanalytic theories are unfalsifiable, that the purported findings of psychoanalysis are readily explained as due to suggestion, that there is a troubling lack of consensus in psychoanalytic interpretation, and that there is a lack of support for psychoanalysis within mainstream science. I also consider a major obstacle to the acceptance of contemporary defenses of psychoanalysis: the “bad lot” argument against Inference to the Best Explanation. My conclusion is that, though these objections have some merit, they are not sufficient reasons for not taking psychoanalytic ideas seriously.


Psychoanalysis Falsifiability Suggestion Inference to the best explanation The bad lot argument 


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Underwood International CollegeYonsei UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea

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