The "tally argument" and the validation of psychoanalysis

Philosophy of Science 57 (4):668-676 (1990)
The classic charge against Freudian theory is that the therapeutic success of psychoanalysis can be explained without appeal to the mechanisms of repression and insight. Whatever therapeutic success psychoanalysis might enjoy would then provide no support for the diagnostic claim that psychological disorders are due to repressed desires or for the therapeutic claim that the gains in psychoanalysis are due to insight into repressed causes. Adolf Grünbaum has repeated the charge in The Foundations of Psychoanalysis (1984), arguing that Freud's response to it in what he calls the "Tally Argument" is woefully inadequate. Grünbaum claims that Freud's defense depends on the view that only psychoanalytic techniques can yield therapeutic effects, and therefore that the transience of some psychoanalytic "cures", the existence of alternative treatment modalities, and the frequency of spontaneous remission undermine Freud's defense of psychoanalysis. I argue that, whatever the merits of psychoanalysis, Freud is not logically committed to any view as extreme as that attributed to him by Grünbaum; and, furthermore, Grünbaum's rendering of Freud is historically inaccurate
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DOI 10.1086/289586
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