The Debate between Grunbaum and Ricoeur: The Hermeneutic Conception of Psychoanalysis and the Drive for Scientific Legitimacy

Études Ricoeuriennes / Ricoeur Studies 7 (1):103-119 (2016)
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Paul Ricœur’s hermeneutic approach to psychoanalysis stresses the interpretation of meanings revealed via the narratives woven through the discursive exchanges between analyst and analysand. Despite the tremendous influence Ricœur’s interpretation enjoyed both in philosophy and in psychoanalysis, his approach has been subject to severe criticism by Adolf Grünbaum who argues that Freud modeled psychoanalysis on the natural sciences, and therefore it should be judged according to natural scientific standards. I argue that Grünbaum incorrectly downplays the importance of speech and language in psychoanalytic theory and practice, and moreover, that Ricœur’s approach offers important insights that deserve to be redeployed today.



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Gregory A. Trotter
Marquette University

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References found in this work

The Foundations of Psychoanalysis: A Philosophical Critique.Adolf Grünbaum - 1984 - Berkeley: University of California Press.
Foreign Bodies: Psychoanalysis and Neuroscience.Elizabeth Rottenberg - 2014 - Journal of Speculative Philosophy 28 (3):346-357.
Psychoanalysis, science, and commonsense.Sebastian Gardner - 1995 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 2 (2):93-113.

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