Neuroscience versus psychology in Freud

In the 1890's, Freud attempted to lay out the foundations of a complete, interdisciplinary neuroscience of the mind. The conference that gave rise to this collection of papers, Neuroscience of the Mind on the Centennial of Freud's Project for a Scientific Psychology, celebrated the centrepiece of this work, the famous Project (1895a). Freud never published this work and by 1896 or 1897 he had abandoned the research programme behind it. As he announced in the famous Ch. VII of The Interpretation of Dreams (1900), he would thereafter restrict himself to psychology proper, i.e., what could be done within the ambit of psychological descriptions. The task of characterizing the neural implementation of the psychological was impossible to carry out given the state of knowledge in his time. As Pribram and Gill (1976), Kitcher (1992) and others have demonstrated, Freud's attempt to sketch an interdisciplinary model of the mind using the language of neurons, quantities of energy, etc., was extremely advanced for its time and was probably about as good as could have been done with what was known in 1895. Knowledge of the brain, evolutionary biology, etc., was too limited to allow more
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