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date: 22 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Could psychoanalysis be a science? There are three ways of reading this question. First, is psychoanalysis the kind of investigation or activity that could, logically speaking, be "scientific"? If we can defend a positive answer here, then it makes sense to ask, second, is psychoanalysis, in the form in which it has traditionally been practiced, and continues to be practiced, a science? If there are good reasons to doubt its credentials, then we might ask, third, is psychoanalysis able to become a science? This is a question about what is needed for the necessary transformation. The chapter argues that psychoanalysis can be a science, but that the historical debate raised important challenges to its methodology, viz., confirmation bias, suggestion, and unsupportable causal inference. The chapter argues that recent developments meet these challenges, and concludes with some reflections on the interdisciplinary nature of psychoanalysis.

Keywords: psychoanalysis, science, hermeneutic, confirmation bias, suggestion, causal inference

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