The Significance of Consilience: Psychoanalysis, Attachment, Neuroscience, and Evolution

In L. Brakel & V. Talvete (eds.), Psychoanalysis and Philosophy of Mind: Unconscious mentality in the 21st century. Karnac (forthcoming)
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This paper considers clinical psychoanalysis together with developmental psychology (particularly attachment theory), evolution, and neuroscience in the context a Bayesian account of confirmation and disconfrimation. In it I argue that these converging sources of support indicate that the combination of relatively low predictive power and broad explanatory scope that characterise the theories of both Freud and Darwin suggest that Freud's theory, like Darwin's, may strike deeply into natural phenomena. The same argument, however, suggests that conclusive confirmation for Freudian hypotheses, as in the case of Darwin's, will come from outside the original domain of explanation sketched out by Freud. As in Darwin's case conclusive confirmation came from understanding the physical mechanisms or reproduction, in Freud's case it will come from understanding the neural mechanisms that realise the phenomena described in psychoanalysis.
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