1st Edition

How Philosophy Changed Psychoanalysis From Naïve Realism to Postmodernism

By Aner Govrin Copyright 2025
    216 Pages
    by Routledge

    216 Pages
    by Routledge

    Through this book, philosopher and psychoanalyst Aner Govrin demonstrates how psychoanalysis' engagement with philosophy formed a crucial factor in the evolution of new psychoanalytic theories in three areas: perception of truth, developmental theories, and study of psychoanalytic treatment.

    Beginning with a Freudian perspective, through ego psychology to the intersubjective and the relational approach, Govrin shows that philosophy seeps into psychoanalytic theory itself, becoming a constitutive factor. When we discuss psychoanalysis, we cannot do it without reference to philosophy since virtually every sentence it has generated harks back to and is embedded in philosophy. Moving onto the Post-psychoanalytic Schools Era in the second part, this seminal volume provides a model for understanding the evolution of psychoanalytic thought in the postmodern era, where "sensibilities" like the relational approach and infant research replaced the orthodox psychoanalytic schools. Govrin also explores whether psychoanalysis is a branch of philosophy, how psychoanalysis progresses, what a psychoanalytic innovation is, and why mainstream psychoanalysis rejects neuropsychoanalysis.

    Exploring the intricate relationship between psychoanalysis and philosophy, this book will be of interest to clinicians, scholars, teachers, and students of contemporary psychoanalysis across a broad spectrum of theoretical orientations, as well as those in the fields of philosophy of science, epistemology, and neuropsychoanalysis.

    Introduction: Is psychoanalysis a philosophy?

    Part 1: How Philosophy Changed American Psychoanalysis?

    Chapter 1: Freud's Compromising Positivism

    Chapter 2: Classical Psychoanalysis

    Chapter 3: Heinz Kohut's Self- Psychology

    PostModernism and Intersubjectivity

    Chapter 4:  The Intersubjective Approach

    Chapter 5: The Relational Approach

    Part 2: The Post-psychoanalytic Schools Era

    Chapter 6:  Back to Positivism: The Case of Neuropsychoanalysis

    Chapter 7: Facts and Sensibilities: What is a psychoanalytic Innovation?

    Concluding Remarks


    Aner Govrin is a psychoanalyst, philosopher, and clinical psychologist. He is the director of a doctoral program, "Psychoanalysis and Hermeneutics," at The Program for Hermeneutics & Cultural Studies, Bar-Ilan University. He is a Tel-Aviv Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalysis (TAICP) member and Editor of the series Routledge Introductions to Contemporary Psychoanalysis.

    'A fascinating and useful exploration of the continuing development of psychoanalysis in relation to influences of disciplines outside it, including philosophy, shifting worldviews and science. The author  brings out connections between different psychoanalytic sensibilities and impacts of  evolving surrounding disciplines. I'm tempted to speak of multiple faces, roots and currents of the shifting philosophical zeitgeist of psychoanalysis.'

    Michael EigenPhD, author of The Psychotic Core, Emotional Storm, The Psychoanalytic Mystic, Bits of Psyche

    'In this provocative and intellectually stimulating volume, Aner Govrin takes us on a journey from Freud to the present, focused on the inextricable link between philosophy and psychoanalysis. Tracing the historical changes in philosophy, he illustrates how they are mirrored in analytic theory from classical analysis to the Postmodern Turn. He creatively argues that no new school of psychoanalytic thought has emerged since the 1980’s, the focus now being on “not knowing,” and creating “sensibilities” rather than complete theories. As a philosopher, as well as a psychoanalyst, he brings unique observations and informative anecdotes to this scholarly yet accessible book. I highly recommend it for its thought-provoking look at the history and current status of psychoanalytic thinking. And for the implicit challenge to create new theories that meet the standard of philosophical rigor.'

    Karen J. Maroda, PhD, ABPP, assistant professor of Psychiatry, Medical College of Wisconsin and private practice, Milwaukee, US

    'This book shows how psychoanalysis became less enamoured with the tenets of positivist science, just as positivist science became less enamoured with psychoanalysis. It is an engaging read, even for positivist scientists like me!'

    Mark Solms, editor of Revised Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud