Encyclopedia of the Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy

Living Edition
| Editors: Mortimer Sellers, Stephan Kirste

Law and Psychoanalysis

  • Peter GoodrichEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6730-0_102-2

The inclusion of law and psychoanalysis in any list of “schools of legal thought” is ambitious, contentious, and optimistic. Freud may have contemplated studying law before he opted for medicine, and law in the anthropological sense of sovereignty, legitimacy and authority certainly played a foundational role in his concept of the social, but in practical terms the two disciplines were conceived as distinct and antithetical. In an early essay titled “Psychoanalysis and the Ascertainment of the Truth in Courts of Law” (1906), Freud makes amply clear that law and psychoanalysis exist in a parallel state of nonrelation.

As a matter of practice, the couch and the witness box, the analyst’s chair, and the judge’s bench were sites in different worlds. In this brief essay on the utility of psychoanalysis in the courtroom, Freud makes two points. The first is that the technique of free association is an excellent method for the extraction of hidden truths. If we want to understand motives for...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Director of the Program in Law and HumanitiesCardozo LawNew YorkUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Patricia Mindus
    • 1
  • Sebastian Andres Reyes Molina
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  2. 2.Department of PhilosophyUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden