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The epistemic predicament of a pseudoscience: social constructivism confronts Freudian psychoanalysis

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Abstract
Social constructivist approaches to science have often been dismissed as inaccurate accounts of scientific knowledge. In this paper, we take the claims of robust social constructivism seriously and attempt to find a theory which does instantiate the epistemic predicament as described by SC. We argue that Freudian psychoanalysis, in virtue of some of its well known epistemic complications and conceptual confusions, provides a perfect illustration of what SC claims is actually going on in science. In other words, the features SC mistakenly ascribes to science in general correctly characterize the epistemic status of Freudian psychoanalysis. This sheds some light on the internal disputes in the field of psychoanalysis, on the sociology of psychoanalytic movement, and on the “war” that has been waged over Freud’s legacy with his critics. In addition, our analysis offers an indirect and independent argument against SC as an account of bona fide science, by illustrating what science would look like if it were to function as SC claims it does.
Keywords
Social Constructivism, epistemic defects. Sigmund Freud, Frank Cioffi, pseudoscience, David Bloor, critique of psychoanalysis

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Chicago
Boudry, Maarten, and Filip Buekens. 2011. “The Epistemic Predicament of a Pseudoscience: Social Constructivism Confronts Freudian Psychoanalysis.” Theoria-a Swedish Journal of Philosophy 77 (2): 159–179.
APA
Boudry, M., & Buekens, F. (2011). The epistemic predicament of a pseudoscience: social constructivism confronts Freudian psychoanalysis. THEORIA-A SWEDISH JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHY, 77(2), 159–179.
Vancouver
1.
Boudry M, Buekens F. The epistemic predicament of a pseudoscience: social constructivism confronts Freudian psychoanalysis. THEORIA-A SWEDISH JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHY. 2011;77(2):159–79.
MLA
Boudry, Maarten, and Filip Buekens. “The Epistemic Predicament of a Pseudoscience: Social Constructivism Confronts Freudian Psychoanalysis.” THEORIA-A SWEDISH JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHY 77.2 (2011): 159–179. Print.
@article{1108932,
  abstract     = {Social constructivist approaches to science have often been dismissed as inaccurate accounts of scientific knowledge. In this paper, we take the claims of robust social constructivism seriously and attempt to find a theory which does instantiate the epistemic predicament as described by SC. We argue that Freudian psychoanalysis, in virtue of some of its well known epistemic complications and conceptual confusions, provides a perfect illustration of what SC claims is actually going on in science. In other words, the features SC mistakenly ascribes to science in general correctly characterize the epistemic status of Freudian psychoanalysis. This sheds some light on the internal disputes in the field of psychoanalysis, on the sociology of psychoanalytic movement, and on the “war” that has been waged over Freud’s legacy with his critics. In addition, our analysis offers an indirect and independent argument against SC as an account of bona fide science, by illustrating what science would look like if it were to function as SC claims it does.},
  author       = {Boudry, Maarten and Buekens, Filip},
  issn         = {0040-5825},
  journal      = {THEORIA-A SWEDISH JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHY},
  keywords     = {Social Constructivism,epistemic defects. Sigmund Freud,Frank Cioffi,pseudoscience,David Bloor,critique of psychoanalysis},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {159--179},
  title        = {The epistemic predicament of a pseudoscience: social constructivism confronts Freudian psychoanalysis},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1755-2567.2011.01098.x},
  volume       = {77},
  year         = {2011},
}

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