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The Psychoanalysis of Science

The Role of Metaphor, Paraplax, Lacunae and Myth

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An innovatory text on the history and philosophy of science, and psychoanalysis

Demonstrates the manner in which the failure to identify unconscious blind spots in science has inhibited scientific development

Explains how irrational, unconscious factors influence not only individual scientists but also the scientific community as a whole

By systematically deconstructing and analyzing scientific texts for irrational unconscious motivations, new scientific associations can be produced. Four categories are suggested as guidelines for the analysis of science: metaphors, scientific parapraxes, lacunae, and scientific myths. The most important are the conceptual lacunae, for they constitute an integral part of the scientific construction. Three types of lacunae are discussed, each deriving from a different hidden motive: (1) The blurring of a scientific problem in order to preserve the intactness of a theory (the post-traumatic dream); (2) The epistemological double split which reflects the discrepancy between what we wish to see and what we actually see; and (3) The difficulty of dealing with phenomena that evoke deep, primary fears (phantasies about the inside of the body).

Examples from various disciplines are discussed in order to show that unconscious elements in science are a universal phenomenon. The function of scientific myths is explained. And the hypothesis is tested on psychoanalysis itself, in this way providing a full explanation of how and why blind spots block scientific creativity.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84519-070-5
Hardback Price: £55.00 / $67.50
Release Date: May 2005
Page Extent / Format: 256 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No



Part I Locating the Irrational, Understanding the Repressed
1 Why a Psychoanalysis of Science?
2 Lacunae in the Development of Science
3 Psychoanalytic Historiography

Part II The Lacanua of Images
4 The Inside of the Body
5 Incest and Menstruation Taboos

Part III Scientific Myths and Lacunae: From Thanatos to Logos
6 The Deductive Birth of Thanatos Theory
7 How Logos Arose Mythologically from Mythos

Part IV The Epistemological Split in Psychoanalysis
8 The Dictatorship of the Logos
9 The Psychoanalysis of Epistemology
10 Complementarity in Psychoanalysis
11 Countertransference as a Lacuna in Psychoanalysis

Part V Evolution, Revolution, Revelation and Creativity in Psychoanalysis
12 Private Theories in Science
13 Leaps versus Gradual Development

Epilogue: Scientific Creativity in the Shadows


Stein’s book, in the stream of a tradition that is almost lost today, i.e. that of Gaston Bachelard, Louis Althusser and very few others, confronts an extremely interesting challenge: that of analyzing the impact of Freudian unconscious on the scientific creativity processes and on the scientific discourse. As the author himself remarks, this work could be only completed through an interdisciplinary research. In order to do so he takes into consideration an exhaustive psychoanalytical and epistemological bibliography. The result is a very original and coherent proposal.
Jorge Canestri, Professor of Psychology at the University of Rome, and co-author of The Babel of the Unconscious: Mother Tongue and Foreign Languages in the Psychoanalytic Dimension

While psychoanalysis analyzes cultural phenomena, the psychoanalysis of science remains a lacuna. In this outstanding study, Yehoyakim Stein paves an innovative path to exploring scientific development, demonstrating it on the psychoanalytic discipline. He sheds new light on hidden motives, loyalty conflicts and unconscious anxieties which cause stagnation and blind spots in psychoanalysis, and demonstrates these motives on the body image, trauma, drive theory and the place of the logos in psychoanalysis.
Dr. Werner Bohleber, Editor of the German Psychoanalytic Journal Psyche

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