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Freud's Argument for the Oedipus Complex: A Philosophy of Science Analysis of the Case of Little Hans

Psychological Issues, Jerome C. Wakefield, 1032224053,1032224088, 978-1032224053, 9781032224053, 978-1032224084, 9781032224084, B0B7TZ9ZVF

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English | 2023 | PDF | 8 MB | 297 Pages

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In  this close reading of Freudian theory, Jerome C. Wakefield reconstructs  Freud’s argument for the Oedipal theory of the psychoneuroses, placing  the case of Little Hans into a philosophy-of-science context and  critically rethinking the epistemological foundations of psychoanalysis.

Wakefield  logically evaluates four central Freudian arguments: the "undirected  anxiety" argument which contends that Hans suffered from anxiety before  he developed his horse phobia; the "day the horse fell down" argument  where, engaging in some scholarly detective work, Wakefield resolves a  century-old dispute between behaviorists and psychoanalysts about when  Hans witnessed a frightening horse accident; the "N=1 sexual repression"  argument that the trajectory of Hans’s sexual desires matches the  Oedipal theory’s predictions; and lastly, the "detailed symptom  characteristics" argument that the Oedipal theory is needed to  understand otherwise inexplicable details of Hans’s symptoms. Wakefield  demonstrates that, although Freud’s arguments are brilliantly conceived,  he misread the facts of the Hans case and failed to support the Oedipal  theory as judged by his own stated evidential standards. However, this  failure creates an opportunity for renewed consideration of  psychoanalysis’s distinctive contribution: the understanding of an  individual’s unique meaning system and confrontation with meanings  outside of focal awareness in order to reshape an individual’s fate.

This  book will be of interest to psychoanalysts and psychotherapists alike,  and will prove essential for scholars working in the fields of  psychoanalysis, philosophy of science, and the history of psychiatry.