A Hermeneutic Reading of Psychoanalysis as a Response to Psychological Reductionism


hermeneutic circle


While psychoanalysis and philosophical hermeneutics have their own respective developmental histories, each has in common, within their respective fields, three particular “tensions” which, in many ways, organize their history and development. These tensions include: epistemology versus ontology, explanation versus understanding, and (hermeneutic of) suspicion versus trust. In order to explicate these “tensions” as they organize philosophical and psychoanalytic hermeneutics, the author will offer a historical exploration of philosophical hermeneutic development. Through this unfolding, insights which connect the development of philosophical and psychoanalytic hermeneutics will be offered. This exploration also implicitly offers a psychoanalytic hermeneutic which can be used as a response to the mainstream paradigm of psychological reductionism. As such, a psychoanalytic hermeneutic orientation towards meaning, context, history, relationality and phenomenology offer methods for a countering and re-framing of both psychotherapeutic process and method.

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