Psychoanalysis: Philosophy and/or Science of Subjectivity? Prospects for a Dialogue Between Phenomenology, Philosophy of Mind, and Psychoanalysis
In spite of current plurality in psychoanalysis, in philosophy of mind, and in phenomenology some current positions within these disciplines of the mind overlap and interface on the crucial topic of subjective experience.
This article includes three sections devoted to:
First, Paul Ricœur’s phenomenological approach to the psychoanalytic experience;
Second, philosophical contributions to psychoanalysis from both philosophy of mind and phenomenology;
Third, scientific contributions to psychoanalysis from the cognitive field.
Commenting on Ricœur’s position on psychoanalysis, this article shows some limits of his hermeneutical understanding of psychoanalysis and points out the value of his first approach in the chapter Epistemology: Between Psychology and Phenomenology from his Freud and Philosophy. An Essay on Interpretation. Here Ricœur focuses on the analytic experience as a via regia for reaching the phenomenon of subjective experience, and further chooses phenomenology for an approximation to psychoanalysis. But unfortunately in his later The Question of Proof in Freud’s Psychoanalytic Writings, Ricœur moves away from phenomenology and almost exclusively restricts the analytic experience to speech acts circumscribing the analytic experience to a narrative enterprise.
The second and third sections of this article compare the psychoanalytic approach to the subjective mind within the analytic relation to both:
First, current philosophical investigations from philosophy of mind and phenomenology on subjective experience, because psychoanalysis can be also understood as a philosophy of the singular and irreducible aspects of the subjective mind;
Second, convergent scientific data from the cognitive field, because psychoanalysis strives also to become a science of the general mechanisms of the subjective mind.
If a major flaw of current psychoanalysis is the inner fragmentation within its basic assumptions, facing the external challenges from the cognitive field offers the opportunity to reconstruct the knowledge base of psychoanalysis on a more adequate foundation. ‘-- End of Abstract’