Escape from Reason: Labels as Arguments and Theories: Dialogue

Dialogue 46 (4):781-796 (2007)

Slava Sadovnikov
York University
McLaughlin’s case for the theoretical relevance of either "Escape" or of Freudian social theory generally proves counter-productive. He offers very weak criteria for theory acceptance and often takes mere labels to be explanatory theories. He does so particularly in his promotion of the con- cept of ambivalence. I will engage the proposed case study and explain why the use of “ambivalence” in psychoanalysis (especially by Bleuler or Freud) and sociology (by Smelser and his followers) is untenable. I point to a notable conflict between McLaughlin’s rationalist and other inten- tions, and will show how he shares the approach to social theories that makes for the state of affairs in the humanities which he deplores.
Keywords Popper, Fromm, social explanation, theory, social character, ambivalence, Bleuler, Freud
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ISBN(s) 0012-2173  
DOI 10.1017/S0012217300002249
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