This ground-breaking book is one of the most creative and valuable contributions to psychoanalysis’s epistemology. Ratner’s bold thesis that Freud and the entire psychoanalytic community had a genuine aversion to proving psychoanalytic ideas, opens new ways of understanding the obstacles of transmitting psychoanalytic knowledge to the public. Psychoanalyst’s Aversion to Proof convincingly demonstrates in fresh and systematic ways that validating psychoanalysis for the world is possible if analysts can recover their sense of optimism, curiosity, and ambition. This book is a remarkable achievement of profound scholarship that should be read by every clinician.
—Aner Govrin, PhD, Faculty, Bar-Ilan University, Director, Doctoral Program for Hermeneutics & Cultural Studies
An important, serious and timely treatment of the major problem confronting psychoanalysis today, The Psychoanalyst’s Aversion to Proof could help determine the future direction of American psychiatry and mental science. The book is compellingly readable and direct but simultaneously scholarly and edifying—impeccably well researched in relation to the historical facts it reviews and the philosophical arguments it marshals—and it culminates in impressively realistic conclusions and practical recommendations.
—Mark Solms, Science Director of the American Psychoanalytic Association, Research Chair of the International Psychoanalytical Association
What is proof—demonstration of facts in all their scientific glory? What about psychic facts? Austin Ratner perspicaciously challenges the hubris of objectivist epistemology by revealing that criteria of proof fails to displace the reality of the life within—what resonates in our emotional life, the presencing of interiority.
In our age where the sanitization of the human subject is eclipsed by medical ideology and biological explanations remedied by a proverbial pill, Ratner reminds us that psychoanalysis is about the lived truth of the feeling soul.
—Jon Mills, PsyD, PhD, ABPP, Professor of Psychology & Psychoanalysis, Adler Graduate Professional School, Toronto; author of numerous books in psychoanalysis & philosophy
Austin Ratner is author of the novels In the Land of the Living and The Jump Artist, winner of the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature. His non-fiction has appeared in The New York Times Magazine and The Wall Street Journal and his short fiction has been honored with the Missouri Review Editors’ Prize. He attended the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Before turning his focus to writing, he received his M.D. from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and he is co-author of the textbook Concepts in Medical Physiology. He grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and now lives in Brooklyn, New York with his wife and two sons.