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Psychoanalysis and empirical research



Abstract: At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the idea of reason began to lose its universal and absolute value, undermining the view of science as a form of objective knowledge that reveals a fundamental reality. These changes have also had an impact on psychoanalysis, leading to a proliferation of theories and the end of a positivistic approach, epitomized by a ‘neutral’ analyst who knows the contents of the patient's mind.

Hermeneutic philosophy provides a tool with which to explore both theoretical multiplicity and the contribution of the analyst's subjectivity to the analytic process. Furthermore, a hermeneutic approach does not have to be hostile to empirical science, but can be integrated with it in a ‘scientific-hermeneutic model’ in which historical and biological principles are given equal value.