Freud: The Psychology of Psychoanalysis

  • Katherine Arens
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 113)


Both the meaning and the significance of Freud’s epochal work remain at the focus of heated disputes within the psychoanalytic and the intellectual communities in general. This is perhaps due to the control of Freud’s legacy by his students and colleagues. Only in a situation such as this would the control and curatorship of personal archives cause both a major court case and the report of that situation in a popular magazine such as the New Yorker.1 In the late 1960’s, this phenomenon was noted by Paul Roazen, himself one of the surviving members of Freud’s circle in Vienna.


World View Conceptual Psychology Latent Content Conscious Mind Individual Psychology 
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  1. 1.
    This alludes to the case of Jeffrey Masson versus K.R. Eissler and the Freud Archives, as reported under the title “Annals of Scholarship: Trouble in the Archives, I and II,” The New Yorker, 5 Dec. 1983, pp. 59 ff., and 12 Dec. 1983, pp. 60 ff. This is, to be sure, a popularized account which nonetheless is archetypical for the strident tones occurring in Freudian debates. The literature on these debates is voluminous and no effort at completeness is made in the present study, but a valuable overview is provided by Eckart Wiesenhütter, Freud und seine Kritiker (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1974)Google Scholar
  2. 1.
    see also K.R. Eissler, Talent and Genius: A Psychoanalytic Reply to a Defamation of Freud (New York: Grove Press, 1971). The debate between Masson and the Archive continues into the New York Times of 25 January 1984, and from there into The Atlantic of February 1984. For background on the development of the discipline of psychologyGoogle Scholar
  3. 1a.
    see also: Heinrich Balmer, ed., Geschichte der Psychologie (Weinheim: Beltz, 1983)Google Scholar
  4. 1b.
    and Hans-Martin Lohmann, ed., Das Unbehagen in der Psychoanalyse (Frankfurt/M.: Qumran Verlag, 1983).Google Scholar
  5. 2.
    Again, Roazen’s positions are chosen here to be representative of a very typical position vis-à-vis Freud’s work on social anthropology; Paul Roazen, Freud: Political and Social Thought (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1968).Google Scholar
  6. 3.
    Reik, From Thirty Years with Freud (New York: Farrar and Rinehart, 1940).Google Scholar
  7. 4.
    Sigmund Freud, Moses and Monotheism: Three Essays (1939 [1934–38]), Standard Edition, Vol. 23, ed. James Strachey (London: Hogarth, 1964) [= MM in text]; Totem and Taboo (1913 [1912–13]), Standard Edition, Vol. 13, ed. James Strachey (London: Hogarth, 1953), ix-162 [= TT in text]; Civilization and Its Discontents (1930 [1929]), Standard Edition, Vol. 21, ed. James Strachey (London: Hogarth, 1961).Google Scholar
  8. 5.
    Perhaps the most notable attempt at a total revaluation of Freud’s work is Frank J. Sulloway, Freud, Biologist of the Mind: Beyond the Psychoanalytic Legend (New York: Basic Books, 1979) [=BM in text]. The standard texts tracing Freud’s influence remain the studies by Rieff, Forrester, Masson, Burnham, Hale, Shakow, and K. Levin cited in the bibliography. Even a recent volume edited by Stepansky still argues in terms of the legend and its refutations, not as an independent scientific approach.Google Scholar
  9. 6.
    Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams [1900], Standard Edition, Vol. IV (to p. 338) and Vol. V. (339–627), ed. James Strachey (London: Hogarth, 1953) [=DR in text]; the editor’s introduction indicates that the text originated 1895 and actually appeared in late 1899 with a post-dated title page.Google Scholar
  10. 7.
    For definitions of these terms, see Sigmund Freud, An Outline of Psycho-Analysis (1940 [1938]), Standard Edition, Vol 23, ed. James Strachey (London: Hogarth, 1964): 139–207.Google Scholar
  11. 8.
    The Project for a Scientific Psychology is among the fragments and drafts included in The Origins of Psycho-Analysis: Letters to Wilhelm Fliess, Drafts and Notes: 1887–1902, eds. Marie Bonaparte, Anna Freud, Ernst Kris (New York: Basic Books, 1954) [=OPA in text].Google Scholar
  12. 9.
    Sigmund Freud, “The Claims of Psycho-Analysis to Scientific Interest” (1913), Standard Edition, Vol. 13, ed. James Strachey (London: Hogarth, 1953): 163–190 [=CL in text].Google Scholar
  13. 11.
    This places Freud’s work in the context of biology, but not in the way that Frank Sulloway did in The Biologist of the Mind. Instead, I agree with Thomas Parisi that Freud’s sense of evolution was not Darwinian, but virtually a Lamarckian position, stressing biological and cultural adaptation. See Parisi, “Why Freud Failed: Some Implications for Neurophysiology and Sociobiology,” American Psychologist, 42, No. 3 (March 1987): 235–245; and Arens, “Characterology: From Empire to Third Reich,” Literature and Medicine, 8 (September 1989).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 12.
    See Ernst Mach, Die Analyse der Empfindungen, und das Verhältnis des Physischen zum Psychischen, 2. Aufl. (Jena: Gustav Fischer, 1900).Google Scholar
  15. 13.
    See Ernst Mach, Erkenntnis und Irrtum: Skizzen zu einer Psychologie der Forschung (Leipzig: J.A. Barth, 1905).Google Scholar
  16. 14.
    See Freud, The Outline of Psycho-Analysis for this parallelism of explication. The aetiology of neuroses parallels the formation of dreams.Google Scholar
  17. 18.
    Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, uses the term “paradigm” to refer to a scientific world view; Michel Foucault, in The Archaeology of Knowledge, uses “épistemè” to refer to the entire conceptual pattern which an age assumes for its arts and sciences.Google Scholar
  18. 19.
    For a sense of this cultural psychology, see Davis Rapaport, “The Structure of Psychoanalytic Theory: A Systematizing Attempt,” pp. 55–183, and Solomon E. Asch, “A Perspective on Social Psychology,” pp. 363–83, in Psychology: A Study of A Science, ed. Sigmund Koch (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1959 ff.), Vol. 3. For approaches to group cultural adaptationGoogle Scholar
  19. 19a.
    see Stephen Jay Gould, Ontogeny and Phylogeny (Cambridge, MA: Belknap/Harvard, 1977)Google Scholar
  20. 19b.
    and John Michael O’Donnell, The Origins of Behaviorism: American Psychology, 1870–1920 (Diss. U. of Pennsylvania, 1979).Google Scholar
  21. 20.
    For a discussion of Freud on language, see also John Forrester, Language and the Origins of Psychoanalysis (New York: Columbia University Press, 1980).Google Scholar
  22. 21.
    For models of a philosophical critique of psychoanalysis, see Adolf Grünbaum, The Foundations of Psychoanalysis: A Philosophical Critique (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984)Google Scholar
  23. 21a.
    and Daniel N. Robinson, Philosophy of Psychology (New York: Columbia University Press, 1985). Both books present arguments for and epistemological critiques of Freud’s work as a science/philosophy. As such, their work diverges from the aims of the present discussion: they evaluate psychoanalysis according to various sets of criteria normed from other disciplines. Here, I am attempting to make the case that Freud’s model cannot be accommodated by models drawn from other disciplines, such as philosophy or natural science. They argue disciplinary paradigms where I stress an emerging discourse crossing disciplinary lines.Google Scholar
  24. 23.
    Freud is not reducing individual mind here. Rather, he seems to be arguing almost in the sense of a paradigm, as Michel Foucault does in The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences (New York: Vintage/Random House, 1971).Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Claude Levi-Strauss, The Savage Mind (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966).Google Scholar
  26. 28.
    For an exemplary application of Freud’s work to a more modern theory of cognition, see Jean-Marie Dolle, De Freud à Piaget: Éléments pour une approche integrative de l’affectivité et de l’intelligence (Toulouse: Bibliothèque de Psychologie Clinique, 1977). The use of Freud’s work in French theory, both social and cognitive, is widespread. Examples of various historical and literary approaches of note are: Jacques Lacan, Speech and Language in Psychoanalysis (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981)Google Scholar
  27. 28a.
    Francesco Orlando, Toward a Freudian Theory of Literature (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978)Google Scholar
  28. 28b.
    Jean Laplanche, Life and Death in Psychoanalysis (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976)Google Scholar
  29. 28c.
    and Sebastiano Timpanaro, The Freudian Slip: Psychoanalysis and Textual Criticism (London: NLB, 1976). A popularized account of Freud as a healer (the familiar therapeutic image) is provided by Stefan Zweig, Mental Healers: Franz Anton Mesmer, Mary Baker Eddy, Sigmund Freud (Garden City, NY: Garden City Publishing Co., 1932).Google Scholar
  30. 29.
    For an explication of the core of the discussion of the “Project, see: Karl H. Pribam and Merton M. Gill, Freud’s “Project” Re-Assessed: Preface to Contemporary Cognitive Theory and Neuropsychology (New York: Basic Books, 1976). For the scientific reception of Freud’s workGoogle Scholar
  31. 29a.
    see, for example, Seymour Fisher and Roger P. Greenberg, eds., The Scientfic Evaluation of Freud’s Theory and Therapy: A Book of Readings (New York: Basic Books, 1978), and its companion volume, The Scientific Credibility of Freud’s Theory and Therapy (New York: Basic Books, 1977). For overviews of Freud’s work and influenceGoogle Scholar
  32. 29b.
    see Richard Wollheim, Sigmund Freud (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981)Google Scholar
  33. 29c.
    John E. Gedo and George H. Pollock, eds., Freud: The Fusion of Science and Humanism, Psychological Issues, Vol. IX, Nos. 2/3 (New York: International Universities Press, 1976)Google Scholar
  34. 29d.
    Dieter Wyss, Psychoanalytic Schools form the Beginning to the Present (New York: Jason Aronson, 1973)Google Scholar
  35. 29e.
    Raymond E. Francher, Psychoanalytic Psychology: The Development of Freud’s Thought (New York: Norton, 1973) [particularly for a discussion of Freud’s neurological work]Google Scholar
  36. 29f.
    and Hannah S. Decker, Freud in Germany: Revolution and Reaction in Science, 1893–1907, Psychological Issues, Monograph 41 (New York: International Universities Press, 1977). For a survey of areas in which Freud has had influenceGoogle Scholar
  37. 29g.
    see Richard Wollheim and James Hopkins, eds., Philosophical Essays on Freud (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982). On the quesion of psychoanalysis, its development and its applicationsGoogle Scholar
  38. 29h.
    see Reuben Fine, A History of Psychoanalysis (New York: Columbia University Press, 1979)Google Scholar
  39. 29i.
    and Edith Kurzweil and William Phillips, eds., Literature and Psychoanalysis (New York: Columbia University Press, 1983).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katherine Arens
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Germanic LanguagesUniversity of TexasAustinUSA

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