This study is a philosophical critique of the foundations of Sigmund Freud's psychoanalysis. As such, it also takes cognizance of his claim that psychoanalysis has the credentials of a natural science. It shows that the reasoning on which Freud rested the major hypotheses of his edifice was fundamentally flawed, even if the probity of the clinical observations he adduced were not in question. Moreover, far from deserving to be taken at face value, clinical data from the psychoanalytic treatment setting are themselves epistemically quite suspect.
Adolf Grünbaum (born May 15, 1923, Cologne, Germany) is a philosopher of science and a critic of psychoanalysis. He is also well known as a critic of Karl Popper's philosophy of science. He became the first permanent Andrew Mellon Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh in 1960. In that year, he also became the founding Director of that University's Center for Philosophy of Science, serving as Director until 1978. Currently, at the University of Pittsburgh, besides being the Andrew Mellon Professor of Philosophy of Science, he is Co-Chairman of its Center for Philosophy of Science (since 1978), Research Professor of Psychiatry (since 1979), and Primary Research Professor in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science (since 2006).
"With this book Adolf Grunbaum has established himself as the most important philosophical critic of the hermeneutic conception not only of psychoanalysis but also of the social sciences, most especially sociology and anthropology. His criticism of the logical and methodological foundations of this style of research and theorizing is masterful and, in my view, definitive."—Melford Spiro "Grünbaum's book is a tour de force. The depth and breadth of his knowledge of psychoanalytic literature in general, and of Freud's works in particular, are most impressive."—Judd Marmor, The Behavioral and Brain Sciences "Adolf Grünbaum, in an indisputable philosophical tour de force, has swept away the Popperian and hermeneutic mythologies about Freudian theory and has substituted a methodological critique of his own that caps the revisionist assessment of Freud."—Frank Sulloway, Free Inquiry "Grünbaum's contribution in ... psychoanalytic epistemology... is unparalleled on . . .[two] counts. Not only does he bring to bear a very great sophistication in the philosophy of science but, in addition, he has done his psychoanalytic homework."—Barbara von Eckardt, Beyond Freud "An absolutely essential critique of psychoanalysis. . . .It goes to the roots of psychoanalysis in a manner which other philosophers. . .have tried to do, but have conspicuously failed to achieve. . . . A brilliant book . . . the most important discussion of the topic to be found in the literature."—HansJ. Eysenck, Behaviour Research & Therapy "His book spells the end of some psychoanalytic pretensions and, at the same time represents a constructive opportunity.... Grünbaum's devastating critique of hermeneutic conceptions and formulations...alone represents a major contribution of his book."—Morris Eagle, Philosophy of Science "Monumental. . .epoch-making."—Frederick Crews, New Republic "No one will be able to write again on the subject without referring to Grünbaum—nor will they want to."—Michael Ruse, Free Inquiry "As a serious psychoanalyst I must say "Thanks! I needed that.". . .it's good to know that we have at least one friendly critic—to paraphrase the familiar saying, we won't then need an enemy."—Morton F. Reiser, The Behavioral and Brain Sciences