A Final Accounting: Philosophical and Empirical Issues in Freudian Psychology

Edward Erwin


"Edward Erwin is the voice of reason itself. Cool, patient, and scrupulously fair, he weighs the strongest arguments and evidence favoring the claims of Freudian psychoanalysis. They amount to a handful of dust. And that result, Erwin shows, is unlikely to be altered by further studies. After Erwin, Freudianism stands in need not of more persuasive advocates but only of an epitaph." -- Frederick Crews, principal author, The Memory Wars: Freud's Legacy in Dispute

More than a century has passed since Sigmund Freud began his groundbreaking work in psychoanalysis yet there is no consensus about his legacy; instead there is persistent disagreement not only about Freud's reputation and place in history but about the proper standards to use in evaluating his theory and therapy. This book develops epistemological standards for Freudian psychology and provides a comprehensive evaluation of, and possibly final, verdict on Freud's theory and therapy. Unlike any other evaluation published to date, it contains a systematic discussion of both the Freudian experimental and non- experimental evidence and the proper standards for interpreting the evidence. Part I considers the view that Freud's theory should be judged by special evidential standards deemed appropriate for judging hypotheses of commonsense psychology. Edward Erwin argues against this view and for the employment of standards applicable to causal hypotheses of both the natural and social sciences. Erwin also addresses other issues about standardssuch as the need for experimental evidence, the use of placebo controls, the proper goals of psychotherapy, and the use of meta-analysis in analyzing outcome data. The standards developed in part I of the book are used in part II in evaluating the best available Freudian evidence. A Bradford Book

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