Decline and Fall of the Freudian Empire
|Decline and Fall of the Freudian Empire|
The 1986 Pelican Books edition
Decline and Fall of the Freudian Empire is a 1985 book by psychologist Hans Eysenck, a proponent of the view that psychoanalysis is unscientific and that its theories are based on no legitimate base of observation or experiment and have the status only of speculation. Eysenck argues that the veracity of psychoanalysis is testable through traditional empirical means, and that in all areas where such tests have been carried out it has failed. Eysenck calls Sigmund Freud, "a genius, not of science, but of propaganda, not of rigorous proof, but of persuasion, not of the design of experiments, but of literary art."
Richard Webster writes that Eysenck's work contains many cogent criticisms of Freud. However, Webster criticizes it for uncritically accepting E. M. Thornton's argument that Freud's patient Anna O. suffered from tuberculous meningitis, remarking that while Eysenck is skeptical of Freud's theories, he sometimes suspends his skepticism when assessing the arguments of Freud's critics.
Malcolm Macmillan notes that Eysenck is one of several authors to have argued that Anna O. suffered from an organic malady, but believes that establishing any retrospective diagnosis with certainty is enormously difficult. He observes that Eysenck's account of what malady Anna O. suffered from disagrees with that of the other authors who maintain that she suffered from some such condition.
- Frosh, Stephen (1987). The Politics of Psychoanalysis: An Introduction to Freudian and Post-Freudian Theory. Hong Kong: Macmillan Education. pp. 6, 276. ISBN 0-333-39613-8.
- Webster, Richard (2005). Why Freud Was Wrong: Sin, Science and Psychoanalysis. Oxford: The Orwell Press. pp. 577–578. ISBN 0-9515922-5-4.
- Macmillan, Malcolm (1997). Freud Evaluated: The Completed Arc. Cambridge: The MIT Press. pp. 10, 684. ISBN 0-262-63171-7.