Psychoanalysis as a Scientific Theory

  • Benjamin B. Wolman


This article presents an analysis of Freud’s psychological theory. Freud’s system is comprised of six classes of propositions. Four of them are empirical, dealing with (1) observable behavior, (2) introspectively observable behavior, (3) inferrable behavior, and (4) empirical generalizations. The other two classes are (5) theoretical or hypothetical constructs and (6) praxiological or applied propositions.

Hypothetical constructs form the backbone of all theoretical systems. Freud introduced seven of them, namely, (1) epistemological realism, (2) monism, (3) energetism, (4) determinism, (5) economy, (6) pleasure-unpleasure continuum, and (7) the constancy principle.

There are good reasons for developing fresh concepts in keeping up with the progress of scientific research, but Freud’s original contribution must be preserved and respected as a pioneering work that has inspired fruitful psychological research by followers, dissidents, and opponents.


Scientific Theory Observable Behavior Causal Principle Empirical Generalization Mental Energy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Benjamin B. Wolman
    • 1
  1. 1.Suite 6DNew YorkUSA

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