Academic journal article Contemporary Psychoanalytic Studies

Fourteen Psychoanalysis and Philosophy

Academic journal article Contemporary Psychoanalytic Studies

Fourteen Psychoanalysis and Philosophy

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT: Philosophy, a typically theoretical type of knowledge, has traditionally taken the form of metaphysics and ontology, and has been concerned with the search for the meaning of the universe, of man, and of the absolute, in other words, cosmology, anthropology, and theodicy.

With Galileo Galilei and the birth of modern science, philosophy's privileged position has continued to lose ground, for example, in terms of its contents, to physics, chemistry, biology, neurology, psychology, and psychoanalysis, although it has still retained its specific competence with respect to the general conditions of intelligibility of reality, the conditions of non-contradiction or confutation of discourse , and the conditions of possibility and foundations of scientific knowledge, namely epistemology.

Whilst epistemology runs the risk of being a knowledge which does not know, scientists, and in particular psychoanalysts, run the risk of pursuing scientific knowledge without knowing its foundations, limits, and conditions of possibility, namely those criteria of rigour, objectivity, and verifiability (see chapter 6). What contribution can philosophy make to science in general, and to the various sciences in particular? Philosophy can indicate, in the Kantian sense, the conditions which make general and specific scientific knowledge possible. Metaphysics may be defined as knowledge of "reality as such", namely, of the most universal characteristics of reality ; or of what is beyond sensation, that is, those aspects of reality which are beyond the limits of what is empirically verifiable. Primary philosophy may be viewed as knowledge of the "whole", that is, as an attempt to investigate reality as such. This is. Secondary philosophies are concerned with aspects of reality such as nature, art, man, morals, religion, and so on.

According to Money-Kyrie (1978), the relationship between psychoanalysis and philosophy tends to be hostile rather than cooperative. Psychoanalytic anthropology considers a culture of mind, which is distinct from both an organicistic culture of the brain and also from a view of mind as an Aristotelian "tabula rasa" which records reality as it is. The philosophical viewpoint is ambiguous because it does not differentiate between a normal and a pathological mental structure.

Man has no reason to philosophise, except with a view to happiness. (Saint Augustine)

Any human science which excludes the intentional method from its research instruments is directed at something which is not, strictly speaking, man, but only some aspect, albeit very important, which is related to him. (Agazzi, 1985b)

WHY A PRIVILEGED DISCOURSE WITH PHILOSOPHY: POSITIVE ASPECTS AND LIMITS

As described in Chapter 6 of this work, philosophy can make a contribution to psychoanalysis by indicating, in the Kantian sense, its conditions of possibility, namely, its foundations, its value, its limits and criteria of rigour, objectivity, and verifiability. Its contribution is primarily epistemological. However, both epistemology and psychoanalysis run a risk; whilst epistemology runs the risk of being a knowledge which does not know, psychoanalysts run the risk of pursuing scientific knowledge without knowing its foundations, limits, and conditions of possibility. Hence there is a need for collaboration between the two forms of knowledge; the philosophical-epistemological and the scientificpsychoanalytic. Unfortunately the historical relationship between the two has been conflictual, rather than collaborative, often involving hostility and mutual deprecation. This is why the interest which has been shown by certain psychoanalysts (including Bion, Money-Kyrie, Resnik, Meltzer) in the philosophy of Kant and others, such as, Hegel (D'Abbiero) and Taylor (Mitchell) is both noteworthy and important.

It is not difficult to understand why psychoanalysis should be interested in philosophy. Indeed, philosophy has always been concerned with the search for knowledge of the quality of the human mind, both directly, in terms of the positive conception, and indirectly, in terms of the negative conception. …

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