Psychoanalysis - History, Philosophy and Methodology of Psychology and Pedagogy


Psychoanalytic psychology, or psychoanalysis, is the direction by which mental processes are determined by the unconscious, and mostly of a sexual nature. It was developed by Sigmund Freud, was repeatedly specified by him, and in the most complete form was set forth in the "Essay of Psychoanalysis". The main concept of psychoanalysis is not the conscious, but the unconscious.

The main principle of Freud's theory is the principle of determination of all mental phenomena, including the conscious, unconscious. Of course, the conceptual system of his theory is not exhausted by a single principle. He divides the psychosphere into the regions of the Ego, the Super-Ego and the Id (Ono); allocates instincts of attraction to death and eros; the phases of the development of sexuality; takes into account the gradation of the psychic into the unconscious, the preconscious and the conscious; uses an extensive network of other, less relevant concepts (displacement, fixation, displacement, regression, sublimation).

Freud explicitly claimed to develop a special research program that allows him to interpret not only rational, but also irrational behavior of people, in particular, dreams, neuroses, religious phenomena, creative manifestations. But its scientific status turned out to be highly nontrivial. The unconscious turned out to be elusive. In this regard, it is reasonable to turn to scientific methods, respectively, of natural sciences and axiological sciences. The unconscious by definition is not a person's value. Consequently, it seems reasonable to strive to determine its reality by the methods of natural science. But they also do not allow to fix it. Since Freud considered the unconscious to be the causative factor, he transferred to psychology the methodology of natural science. But in the case of studying the unconscious himself, he abandoned this methodology, using, in fact, intentional (weighted by value preferences) methods of interpretation. Paradoxical thinking of Freud suggests that he either developed a new method that combines the virtues of natural and axiological sciences, or unjustly unites them into a single whole. Let's try to understand.

Experts in the philosophy of science, as a rule, refuse to recognize the scientific status of psychoanalysis. The positions of the critical rationalist K. Popper and the analytical philosopher A. Grünbaum are indicative in this respect. K. Popper attributed psychoanalysis to pseudoscientific theories insofar as it is not falsified. He likened the description 3. Freud Ego, Super-Ego and Ono to the myth of Homer about Olympus. In our opinion, Popper made a triple mistake. First, he facilitated the possibility of criticizing psychoanalysis by not considering its basis, that is, the ratio of the unconscious and the conscious. Secondly, insisting on the non-enforceability of psychoanalysis, he did not take into account the results of psychoanalytic therapy, which does not always end in failure. Thirdly, Popper hastily compared psychoanalysis to literary fiction: in contrast to Homer's stories, psychoanalysis is not a literary work, but a psychological theory.

The psychoanalysis of A. Grünbaum was subjected to devastating criticism. Its core was the opposition to Freud's dynamic unconscious cognitively unconscious. It is present in memory, perceptions, judgments, attention and is described rationally. Relying on the methods of analytical philosophy, A. Grünbaum criticized Freudian psychoanalysis from the standpoint of cognitive psychology. He showed quite convincingly that within the very psychoanalytic movement the criticism of a number of basic theses of the theory of Z. Freud is successfully developing. So, the conflict-model of psychology, assuming the displacement of desires, is replaced by the psychology of defects of self-consciousness. A. Grünbaum came to the conclusion that psychoanalysis is alien to the criterion of confirmability. This circumstance, he believed, is ignored by the defenders of psychoanalysis, especially the hermeneutics, which thus demonstrate the form of "escape from responsibility."

The philosophical weakness of A. Grünbaum's position, in our opinion, lies in the fact that he did not make a clear distinction between the criteria for the scientific character of natural science and social science. The verification criterion used by him refers to the sciences of nature. Criteria of axiological sciences, including psychology, A. Grunbaum were not considered at all. But, it seems to us, these criteria could bring the required degree of clarity to the question of the scientific status of psychoanalysis.

As for the supporters of psychoanalysis, their argument basically boils down to two statements. First, psychoanalysis has proved its relevance in the practice of psychotherapy. Secondly, psychoanalysis has no alternative as a means of accounting for the relevance of the unconscious.

There are also such authors who, recognizing the merits of psychoanalysis, nevertheless believe that it is in principle contraindicated in the scientific form. Attempts to improve psychoanalysis lead to its loss. We, in turn, believe that the scientific criticism of psychoanalysis is quite substantial, it does not cancel, but improves it. In particular, it is quite legitimate to criticize psychoanalysis from the standpoint of cognitive psychology, which does not eliminate its achievements, in particular, taking into account the relevance of the sexual sphere and the possibilities of lingual therapy.

Evaluation of the scientific status of psychoanalytic philosophy is hampered by many circumstances, including the fact that its main followers prefer to keep from science at some distance. The mass of psychoanalytic works is still waiting for its philosophical and scientific treatment.

3. Freud himself was fond of philosophy in his youth, but basically he was familiar only with the second form of positivism - the empirio-criticism of E. Mach and R. Avenarius. Both of them were not strong in understanding the conceptual structure of the sciences. In addition, they mainly studied the natural sciences: Mach - physics, Avenarius - physiology. Perhaps, from them Freud took interest in the natural sciences. From this point of view, it is not at all by chance that when discussing psychoanalysis, as a rule, he compared it to the natural sciences. With axiological sciences, he, in fact, was a superficial sign. But in order to assess the status of psychoanalytic philosophy, they are primarily needed. The baggage of the interstitial ideas of Freud is relatively meager. Perhaps, therefore, his rare judgments about science do not differ in detail. Basically we are talking about principles, for example, attraction to pleasure and destruction. But these principles are not implemented step-by-step and in detail and up to the scientific principles are clearly not enough. Rather, they can be called values.

Freud's method of free association is good because he sets up interlocutors for a sincere dialogue, which is always highly appreciated by hermeneutics, who seek mutual understanding. But little is known about its conceptual device. What does Freud do? The search for axiological defects in the views of their patients. For example, they mistakenly assess the figures of their parents and sexual partners. A productive consideration of such a situation obviously requires referring to axiological theory. But Freud is inclined to appreciate highly the ideals of natural sciences, in particular, the characteristic for them understanding of dynamism. According to Freud, the unconscious determines the conscious by the scheme of the cause-effect relationship.

He could explain to his patient that he has inappropriate theoretical preparation ("You are unhappy, because you either misunderstand much of what happened in your life, or do not take into account some facts"). The cure consists in replacing the failed theory with a more prosperous one, with other values ​​and adjusting the outdated concepts. A bad theory carries the danger of discomfort and neuroses. This is precisely what Freud shows, and sometimes with inimitable mastery. However, achieving a positive therapeutic effect, it should be properly interpreted. The reason for the painful discomfort was precisely the theory, which did not allow finding the desired harmony, and not some mysterious unconscious (if I do not know A, then it does not follow that it affects me as a dynamic factor). It's about the error of cognition, and not about the formation of a special reality. It is clearly wrong to consider that every mistake of cognition leads to the formation of varieties of psychic reality. In our opinion, Freud's main error, and, after him, other followers of psychoanalysis, consists in the substantiation of the errors of cognition. But if there are substances, then there must be dynamics. Hence the thesis of the dynamic power of the unconscious. Of course, the psychologist must take into account the factors not only purely mental, but also physical, and biological nature. This, as was repeatedly noted above, is done through conceptual symbolization. Freud did not know this technique, and in his absence the psychic is reduced to biological and physical.

Thus, the traditional interpretation of psychoanalysis is marked with a stamp of unjustified interpretation of cognitive errors as factors that cause the formation of unconscious dynamic phenomena.

The psychoanalytic movement is extremely multifaceted, many Freud's students, in particular A. Adler and K. Jung, sharply disagreeing with the teacher, organized their own schools. They succeeded in concretizing some of his main ideas. In the framework of neo-Freudianism, they try to establish a contact between psychoanalysis and the social sciences. In this regard, the works of E. Fromm, which supplemented psychoanalysis with Marxism and tried to raise this symbiosis to the level of ethics, are indicative in this respect. Of course, the psychoanalyst ethics turns out to be love. In philosophical terms, none of the psychoanalysts left far from Freud. And in their works there is an acute need for metascientific research.


1. 3. Freud and his followers proposed an impressive research program to study the sexual sphere.

2. The main methodological mistake of psychoanalysts is to replace unconscious unconscious. Not the conscious is not unconscious, it does not form any mysterious dynamic substance.

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