Advertisement

Is Psychoanalysis Therapeutic Technique or Scientific Research?

A Metascientific Investigation
  • Carl Lesche

Abstract

The term psychoanalysis can refer to either a science or a therapy. We shall first deal with it as therapy and introduce step by step the explicata. As our first explicatum, therapy will be regarded as technique and we shall examine the conditions under which it may be justified. A rational technique ought to be based on a pure science, which in this case ought to be psychoanalytical science. Second, therapy will be explicated as the treatment of illness. A justified rational technique ought to be based on an empirical science which permits descriptions that are explainable universal sentences. It is only in the exact natural sciences that we can find such sentences, not in the behavioral and human sciences. A natural-scientific, pure psychoanalysis is impossible; it cannot exist, since psychoanalysis strives for self-reflection and emancipation. We shall then recommend a third explication of psychotherapy, namely, as a technique in which the goal is described in intentional and phenomenal terms and valued in terms of health values. It is impossible to explain phenomenal explananda with physicalistic explanantia. At most, psychoanalytical therapy, psychopharmacological therapy, behavioral therapy, and psychosomatic medicine can be considered unjustified empirical (Machiavellian) techniques. The fourth, and final, explicatum of psychotherapy will refer to a technique the goals of which (and even the antecedent conditions and technical interventions) are described in phenomenal languages and evaluated in terms of health values and which is justified by pure experiential psychology (and not behavioral, learning-theory, motivational, or pharmacological psychology). If we introduce this explicatum, the only reasonable one, it implies that psychotherapy cannot be justified as technique. Thus the natural-scientific and therapeutic interpretations of psychoanalysis lead to an impasse. The only alternative left is to pursue psychoanalysis as a form of human-scientific research. Therefore, it is necessary to acquaint oneself with what characterizes the methods of the humanities, namely, understanding and interpretation. These do not inquire after explainable, universal descriptions of conscious phenomena; instead, the latter are systematized into intentional contexts of meaning. Of the various hermeneutics we shall consider only Apel’s hermeneutic-dialectical model of knowledge acquisition, self-understanding, and emancipation in a pure psychoanalytic situation. The psychoanalytic process cruises between a “hermeneutic phase” and a “quasi-naturalistic phase.” In the hermeneutic phase the analyst and analysand immediately understand each other. The function of the quasi-naturalistic psychoanalytical theories (“clinical theories”) is that in the event of failure in the pure hermeneutic understanding they may be used in order to get at the unknown intention with quasi-explanations. Freud also introduced another type of theory, his metapsychology. I propose to explicate Freud’s metapsychology as the metatheory of these quasi-explanations. It steers their construction by offering and accounting for concepts, rules, and patterns of those ”naked models“ borrowed from natural science. Thus the practice of psychoanalysis can either follow a pure psychoanalytical human-scientific method or a psychoanalytically based Machiavellian technique.

Keywords

Human Science Explanatory System Psychoanalytic Theory Logical Empiricism Scientific Description 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Apel, K.-O. (1965). Die Entfaltung der ‘sprachanalytischen’ Philosophie und das Problem der ‘Geisteswissenschaften’. Philosophisches Jahrbuch, 72, 239–289. (English translation: Analytic philosophy of language and the Geisteswissenschaften. Dordrecht: Reidel, 1967 ).Google Scholar
  2. Apel. K.-O. (1968). Szientistik, Hermeneutik, Ideologiekritik: Entwurf einer Wissenschaf- tslehre in erkenntnisanthropologischer Sicht. Man and World: An International Philo-sophical Review, 1, 37 – 63.Google Scholar
  3. Apel, K.-O. (1976). Causal explanation, motivational explanation, and hermeneutic understanding. In G. Ryle (Ed.), Contemporary aspects of philosophy(pp. 161 – 176 ). Stocksfield, England: Oriel Press.Google Scholar
  4. Freud, S. (1915). The unconscious. In J. Strachey (Ed.), The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud(vol. 14, pp. 166 – 215 ). London: The Hogarth Press, 1957.Google Scholar
  5. Freud, S. (1923). The encyclopedia articles: “Psycho-analysis” and “The Libido theory.” In J. Strachey (Ed.), The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud(vol. 18, pp. 235 – 259 ). London: The Hogarth Press, 1955.Google Scholar
  6. Freud, S. (1937). Analysis terminable and interminable. In J. Strachey (Ed.), The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud(vol. 33, pp. 216 – 253 ). London: The Hogarth Press, 1964.Google Scholar
  7. Gill, M, M. (1976). Metapsychology is not psychology. In M. M. Gill & P. S. Holzman (Eds.), Psychology versus metapsychology: Psychoanalytic essays in memory of George S. Klein(pp. 71–105). Psychological Issues, Monograph 36. New York: International Universities Press.Google Scholar
  8. Habermas, J. (1965). Erkenntnis und Interesse. Merkur, 19, 1139–1153. (English translation: Knowledge and interest. Inquiry, 1966, 9, 285–300).Google Scholar
  9. Habermas, J. (1968). Erkenntnis und Interesse. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp Verlag. ( English translation: Knowledge and human interest. Boston: Beacon Press, 1971 ).Google Scholar
  10. Hartmann, H. (1927). Die Grundlagen der Psychoanalyse. Leipzig: Thieme.Google Scholar
  11. Hempel, C. G., & Oppenheim, P. (1948). The logic of explanation. Philosophy of Science, 15, 135 – 175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Husserl, E. (1900-1901). Logische Untersuchungen(2 vols.). Halle: Niemeyer. (Husserliana, XVIII. The Hague: Nijhoff, 1975 ).Google Scholar
  13. Husserl, E. (1952). Ideen zu einer reinen Phanomenologie und phanomenologischen Philosophie. Husserliana, V. The Hague: Nijhoff.Google Scholar
  14. Husserl, E. (1954). Die Krisis der europäischen Wissenschaften und die transzendentale Phänomenologie. Husserliana, Vol. VI. The Hague: Nijoff.Google Scholar
  15. Klein, G. S. (1976). Psychoanalytic theory. New York: International Universities Press.Google Scholar
  16. Lesche, C. (1962). A metascientific study of psychosomatic theories and their application in medicine. Copenhagen: Munksgaard and New York: Humanities Press.Google Scholar
  17. Lesche, C. (1971). On psychophysical measurement. Swedish Journal of Musicology, 53, 91 – 106.Google Scholar
  18. Lesche, C. (1973a). On the metascience of psychoanalysis. The Human Context, 5, 268 – 284.Google Scholar
  19. Lesche, C. (1973b). Die Weltanschauung Freuds und der Psychoanalytiker. Annales Universitatis Turkuensis, 126, 85 – 100.Google Scholar
  20. Lesche, C. (1976). Über die Psychotherapieforschung. Paper read at the Dixième Congrès International de Psychothérapie, Paris.Google Scholar
  21. Lesche, C. (1978). Some metascientific reflections on the differences between psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 1, 147 – 181.Google Scholar
  22. Lesche, C. (1979). The relation between psychoanalysis and its metascience. Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 2, 17 – 33.Google Scholar
  23. Lesche, C. (1980). Biochemical and mental depression: A meta-scientific analysis. In K. Achté, V. Aalberg, & J. Lönnqvist (Eds.), Psychopathology of depression. Proceedings of the symposium by the Section of Clinical Psychpathology of the World Psychiatric Association 1979. Psychiatria Fennica Supplementum(pp. 169 – 175 ).Google Scholar
  24. Lesche, C. (1981a). The relation between metapsychology and clinical psychoanalysis. Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 4, 59 – 74.Google Scholar
  25. Lesche, C. (1981b). The management of anxiety: Therapeutic treatment or scientific research? Some metascientific considerations. In A. Okasha (Ed.), Proceedings of symposium on psychopathology of anxiety and its management(pp. 151 – 159 ). Cairo: Ciba-Geigy Scientific Office.Google Scholar
  26. Lesche, C., & Stjernholm Madsen, E. (1976). Psykoanalysens Videnskabsteori. Copenhagen: Munksgaard.Google Scholar
  27. Lorenzer, A. (1974). Die Wahrheit der psychoanalytischen Erkenntnis. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  28. Miller, J. (1975). A critical assessment of the future of psychoanalysis: A view from within, reported by Ira Miller. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 23, 139 – 153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Radnitzky, G. (1970). Contemporary schools of metascience(2 vols.). Goteborg: Akademiforlaget.Google Scholar
  30. Ricoeur, P. (1965). De l’interpretation: Essai sur Freud. Paris: Éditions du Seuil. ( English translation: Freud and philosophy. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1970 ).Google Scholar
  31. Rubinstein, B. B. (1976). On the possibility of a strictly clinical psychoanalytic theory: An essay in the philosophy of psychoanalysis. In M. Gill & P. S. Holzman (Eds.), Psychology versus metapsychology(pp. 229–264). Psychological Issues, Monograph 36. New York: International Universities Press.Google Scholar
  32. Schafer, R. (1976). A new language for psychoanalysis. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Stegmüller, W. (1969). Wissenschaftliche Erklärung und Begründung. New York: Springer Verlag.Google Scholar
  34. Törnebohm, H. (1952). A logical analysis of the theory of relativity. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell.Google Scholar
  35. Törnebohm, H. (1957). Fysik och Filosofi. (With an appendix: On explanation, predictions, and theories in physics: A case study). Göteborg: Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis. Vol. 63.Google Scholar
  36. Törnebohm, H. (1973). Perspectives on inquiring systems. (Rapport 53 from Avd. för Vetenskapsteori). Göteborg: Göteborg’s Universitet.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carl Lesche
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of StockholmStockholmSweden

Personalised recommendations