Sigmund Freud told of a Jewish women who dreamt that a stranger handed her a comb. The women desired to marry a Christian man which triggered an emotional argument with her mother on the night prior to her dream. When Freud asked her what memories she associated with the word comb the woman told him that once her mother had once told her not to use a separate comb because she would "mix the breed." Freud then revealed that the meaning of the dream was an expression of her own latent wish to "mix the breed." Examples such as this seem like very persuasive evidence of Freud's theory that dreams are a form of wish fulfilment but many scientists and philosophers of science say that Freud's theories can't be scientifically falsified or that he lacks scientific evidence. But what constitutes scientific evidence? Surely Freud is a scientist because he grounds his theories in specific empirical clinical examples that he expresses clearly in a way that even the most uneducated person can understand them? The symbolic nature of dreams may require interpretation but interpretation isn't necessarily simply "subjective" and therefore lacking "objective" "scientific" grounding in my opinion if one can bolster that interpretation with empirical evidence. If we dismiss Freud because he isn't "scientific" then how do I know that other forms of science have been dismissed despite the fact that they maybe entirely reasonable on their own terms?

You are right that some philosophers have dismissed Freud's ideas on the grounds that they are "not scientific." I agree with you that this judgment is too harsh. Freudian interpretations are theories for which there can be evidence for or against. In practice, however, traditional Freudian analysts have been rather quick to accept and reject theories based on little evidence and much "intuitive plausibility." They have not considered that other interpretations of behavior and dreams may be equally likely. The philosopher of science Adolf Grunbaum thinks that the science of psychoanalysis is so sloppy that it should be thought of as "unscientific" or "pseudoscientic." But not all philosophers of science or psychologists reject psychoanalysis. Some think that Freud's specific account (in terms of id, ego, superego) is not as well confirmed as some other accounts (e.g. object relations theory).

I don't myself think the term 'scientific' is a scientific term, nor have philosophers, such as Grunbaum or anyone else given it a very interesting or useful interpretation. Freud had a lot of ideas. So do contemporary psychoanalysts 100 years on. Psychoanalysis is no monolith. We can ask of any of the many many claims that psychoanalysts have made (under the heading of psychoanalysis, forgetting about what they say about other things): are they well backed by evidence and argument? Do they prove clinically useful and successful. Asking those questions is useful and interesting. Asking whether psychoanalysis is scientific is not.

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