How do psychoanalysts know what they know?

Book chapter


Rustin, M. 2007. How do psychoanalysts know what they know? in: Braddock, L. and Lacewing, M. (ed.) The Academic Face of Psychoanalysis London Routledge. pp. 272-195
AuthorsRustin, M.
EditorsBraddock, L. and Lacewing, M.
Abstract

This paper puts forward an account of psychoanalysis as an organised practice for the generation of new knowledge. Against criticisms of psychoanalysis as a pseudo-science or failed science it asserts the respect of psychoanalysis for both rational argument and empirical evidence over the course of its development. Its contention is that from its foundational moment as a ‘revolutionary science’ in the formative work of Freud in The Interpretation of Dreams and after, psychoanalysis has proceeded in the mode of a ‘normal science’, that is by recognising and investigating problems that emerged from the encounter of its theoretical conjectures with facts, in particular the ‘clinical facts’ which have always been its principal source of observational data. It argues that while psychoanalysis does have distinctive and unusual features as a form of systematic inquiry, these derive logically and appropriately from the nature of its distinctive object of study, namely unconscious mental life.

KeywordsFreud; cultural theory; psychoanalysis; clinical training; psychology; psychoanalytic therapy
Book titleThe Academic Face of Psychoanalysis
Page range272-195
Year2007
PublisherRoutledge
Publication dates
Print2007
Publication process dates
Deposited09 Oct 2009
Place of publicationLondon
Additional information

Citation:
Rustin, M. (2007) ‘How do psychoanalysts know what they know?’ Published in Braddock, L & Lacewing, M. (eds) The Academic Face of Psychoanalysis. London: Routledge 2007, pp 272-195.

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