Why psychoanalysis is a science

David Hafner

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review


In his recent book, Guénaël Visentini valiantly argues that the status of truth and knowledge in science must be reevaluated if psychoanalysis is ever to approach the sciences. Sigmund Freud’s work not only attests to the subjective division of humans but reflects on the production of analytic knowledge, one which obliges the deconstruction of the scientific ideal. Visentini affirms that after Freud, one can no longer speak of science but rather of the sciences, each with its measures and methods and each with its object of research. Throughout his lifetime of work, Freud created an epistemology the “analytic epistemology of psychoanalysis.” Visentini uses the term analytic epistemology because a philosophic epistemology of psychoanalysis already exists in the reflections of Adolf Grünbaum and Karl Popper. Psychoanalysis would thus be the science of psychical functioning, one still lacking mathematical formalization, but a science nonetheless.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)985-987
Number of pages3
JournalCritical Inquiry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2016


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