Tag Archives: psychoanalysis

Ludwig Wittgenstein

[Freud] always stresses what great forces in the mind, what strong prejudices work against the idea of psycho-analysis. But he never says what an enormous charm that idea has for people, just as it has for Freud himself. There may be strong prejudices against uncovering something nasty, but sometimes it is infinitely more attractive than it is repulsive.

Ludwig Wittgenstein, quoted in Normal Malcolm, Ludwig Wittgenstein: A Memoir, Oxford, 1958, p. 39


Anyone reading Sigmund Freud’s original works might well be seduced by the beauty of his prose, the elegance of his arguments and the acuity of his intuition. But those with a grounding in science will also be shocked by the abandon with which he elaborated his theories on the basis of essentially no empirical evidence.

‘Psychology: A Reality Check’, Nature, vol. 461, no. 7266 (October 15, 2009), p. 847

Hans Eysenck

The continued hostility of Freudians to all forms of criticism, however well-informed, and to the formulation and existence of alternative theories, however well-supported, does not speak well for the scientific spirit of Freud and his followers. For any judgement of psychoanalysis as a scientific discipline, these points must constitute strong evidence against its acceptance.

Hans Eysenck, Decline and Fall of the Freudian Empire, New York, 1985, pp. 13-14

John Lucas

Although men may sometimes take a God’s eye view of the universe, they cannot consistently think of themselves as not being covered by any universal account they give of the world or of humanity. For they are men, and live in the world. It is a fair criticism of many philosophies, and not only determinism, that they are hoist with their own petard. The Marxist who says that all ideologies have no independent validity and merely reflect the class interests of those who hold them can be told that in that case his Marxist views merely express the economic interests of his class, and have no more claim to be adjudged true or valid than any other views. So too the Freudian, if he makes out that everybody else’s philosophy is merely the consequence of childhood experiences, is, by parity of reasoning, revealing merely his delayed response to what happened to him when he was a child. So too the determinist. If what he says is true, he says it merely as the result of his heredity and environment, and nothing else.

John Lucas, The Freedom of the Will, Oxford, 1970, p. 114

Juan José Sebreli

Los psicoanalistas se han despreocupado por la verificación del número de curas de los psicoanalizados—ésa es su falencia epistemológica—, pero si se consideran, desde un punto de vista impresionista, los delirios colectivos en que incurrió la clase media argentina en la década del setenta, durante el auge del psicoanálisis, sería una prueba en su contra.

Juan José Sebreli, Buenos Aires, ciudad en crisis, Buenos Aires, 2003, p. 212

Arthur Koestler

From a purely psychological point of view, the introduction of new hypotheses and of new terms would appear justified if it led to a system free of contradictions, and to predictions verifiable by experiment. But, to take the latter test first, analysts of the orthodox Freudian, Jungian, and Adlerian schools all achieve some therapeutical results which seem to confirm prediction by experiment, though the theories on which the predictions are based are sometimes diametrically opposed to each other. The reason for this, and for the indecisive nature of the purely psychological approach in general, is the metaphorical character of psychological terms like “repression,” “censor,” super-ego,” inferiority complex,” and so forth, and the tautologies to which their manipulation often leads.

Arthur Koestler, Insight and Outlook: An Inquiry into the Common Foundations of Science, Art, and Social Ethics, 1949, New York, p. ix

Mario Bunge

Los lacanianos se interesan solamente por la práctica psicoanalítica: no les interesa saber si esa práctica es fundada o infundada, eficaz o ineficaz. Se ponen en la posición del terapeuta que vive de su trabajo, no del paciente que le paga la consulta. Al paciente, en cambio, debiera interesarle saber qué dicen las estadísticas acerca del poder curativo de las doscientas y pico de escuelas de terapia verbal. Al fin y al cabo, están en juego su salud mental y su billetera.

Mario Bunge, ‘El psicoanlálisis: ¿ciencia o macaneo?’, en Vistas y entrevistas, 2nd ed., Buenos Aires, 1997, pp. 235-236