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I don't know whether "pseudoscience" is fair,

What do you mean you don't know? You just asserted that Freud didn't use scientific methods.

You are correct, sir.
If he didn't use scientific methods, how could you favor "pseudoscience" as an alternative description?

I'm not sure I understand what you're saying here, Coop. Clearly not everything that doesn't use the scientific method is a "pseudoscience". Medical equipment salesmanship, for example, is not a pseudoscience. I think for something to be a pseudoscience it has to purport to be scientific in the narrow sense of the word. It has to cloak itself in the language of science.
I happen to believe that a lot of the evolutionary human/primate biology speculation that you see thrown about here and there, often by biologists themselves, scientists with seemingly impeccable credentials, is pseudoscientific. These guys are just making guesses about the evolutionary reasons for human behavior, in many cases not realizing how culturally and temporally biased their views of human behavior are. They are pseudoscientists because they try to make their bogus guesses seem more respectable by leveraging (as you MBA types say) their legitimate scientific creds.
However, you haven't said much that convinces that Freud wasn't using a scientific approach. The term "science" must adjust for the field, and if he did what other psychiatrists did to develop theories, that's science enough.

Coop, for Freck's sake, psychiatry != psychoanalysis. Though at one time there were many psychoanalytically-trained psychiatrists. Now you only find those guys on the Upper West Side of M'nhattan.
Raymond S. Wise wrote on 28 Apr 2004:

I fear I may have disappointed you. My only reference ... that came up because Freud had an interest in them.

You talked a great deal about pseudoscience a couple of years ago when we were discussing Martin Gardner. The both of you discussed parapsychology. Don't you remember that? Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor. For email, ehziuh htiw rehpycrebyc ecalper.

Sorry, I meant that I didn't mention parapsychology in my most recent postings.
However, I suspect a misunderstanding is involved. Psychoanalysis is a pseudoscience, but it is not a form of parapsychology. That word is restricted to matters such as extrasensory perception, psychokinesis, and similar nonsense. Martin Gardner certainly is an expert on the subject of debunking parapsychology. (It helps that he's an accomplished amateur magician.)

Raymond S. Wise
Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
E-mail: mplsray @ yahoo . com
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
A pæderast is a man who has sex with a ... as pedophilia, sexual intercourse with children not yet sexually mature.

But of course the ancient words have got different meanings in different languages also due to different attitudes towards sexuality.

Yes, what you describe, I would call "ancient Greek/Roman pederasty". I think that today, "pederasty" without qualifier refers to sex with under-age boys in the modern sense of under-age. I can say that in German usage that is the case.

Then it is used differently in German (and English?) on the one hand, and Danish in the other hand. Few use the word in Denmark and those who use it use it in the sense given in this dictionary (translated into English):
Politiken's Large Dictionary of Danish (Politikens Store Ordbog) pederasty (pæderasti)
A homosexual relationship between adult men and boys () the old Greek's pederasty, love for young men (et homoseksuelt forhold mellem voksne mænd og drenge () de gamle grækeres pæderasti, kærlighed til unge mænd).
The other caveat has been mentioned before: pederasty is a practice, whereas pedophilia is only an inclination, contrary to what you write above.

Of course, pedophilia is an inclination. It is only pedophilic practice that is illegal - sex with children under 15 and in some cases with children under 18 (teachers, scout leaders, parents, ...). Of course the age limits vary from country to country, from 12 to 21 of age.
Per Erik Rønne
Raymond S. Wise wrote on 28 Apr 2004:
Raymond S. Wise wrote on 28 Apr 2004: You ... The both of you discussed parapsychology. Don't you remember that?

Sorry, I meant that I didn't mention parapsychology in my most recent postings. However, I suspect a misunderstanding is involved. ... Martin Gardner certainly is an expert on the subject of debunking parapsychology. (It helps that he's an accomplished amateur magician.)

I can agree that psychology is not a hard science, but I don't see how you can lump all psychology into one category. There is quite a difference between Watson and Skinner's rat psych (Behaviorism) and the clinical psychology practices by psychotherapists.

There also seems to me to be a qualitative difference between parapsychology, which is mostly chicanery, and clinical pyschology, which is not concerned with "extrasensory perception, psychokinesis, and similar nonsense".
Parapsychology is snake oil, but clinical psych is not, even though a lot of what passes for psychotherapy might.
What say you?

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor.
For email, ehziuh htiw rehpycrebyc ecalper.
I do have mild objection to "pseudoscience" as a term in this application. "Pseudoscience" has a whiff of snake oil about it. The snake oil salesman knows that he is selling colored water.

If you're lucky.
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The same firm's dictionary, of course, reports the unjustly loaded use of 'anti-Semitic'. There's nowt so queer as folk, I always say gaily.

The question is, in both cases were the Merriam-Webster editors acting as careful scholars or not? And if they were, ... entry "homosexual," did they commit an offense against scholarship by removing "homosexual" as an entry word from their online thesaurus?

I vaguely remember that the Merry Webster was already accused of the same attitude in olden times (just tried to find a couple notes I remembered reading in Mencken re euphemisms and M-W, I can't locate them now). Wouldn't know about it myself because I always hated the M-W and always agreed with Nero Wolfe that it deserves a nice auto-da-fé.
I have no opinion on the validity of the theories. I just wonder about the use of "psuedoscience" there.

I'm not sure what pseudoscience is. MW gives a poor definition: a system of theories, assumptions, and methods erroneously regarded ... as described by Mr Cooper above? I tend to believe that in many instances "pseudoscience" is a matter of opinion.

It probably is, but, while I find it difficult to define, I know it when I see it.
I once took a (compulsory) course in "Practical Theology", and the entire first-yeatr course was devoted to justfying its inclusion in the university curriculum on the grounds that it was "scientific".

In part there is is a language problem, because in English "scientific" means something different from what it means in other European languages, but the course writer was (I think deliberately) trying to confuse the two meansings. In many othe languages (like Dutch, German, Russian and Greek) "scientific" means something like "academic". In English the word has become more closely asociated with natural science and the scientific method.

In this case (and even more so in the case of the other pseudoscience I mentioned recently, "Fundamental Pedagogics", one of the primary characteriscs proposed for something being declared to be "scientific" was tyhat it should have its own terminology, and therefore a lot of effort was put into concocting long terms based on Latin or Greek for ordinary every-day things.

I think there was a book called "The agogic moment in pastoral counselling", and pages and pages were devotred to the explication of "the agogic". Perhaps one of the characteristics of pseudoscience is the love of nouning adjectives.

Steve Hayes from Tshwane, South Africa
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/7734/stevesig.htm
E-mail - see web page, or parse: shayes at dunelm full stop org full stop uk
Simon R. Hughes wrote on 28 Apr 2004:

Sarcasm doesn't becomes you, Franke.

I'm not being sarcastic, Simon, only prophetic. Pseudoscience is one of Raymond's hobby horses and he knows a lot about ... like his explanation very much. I don't see a problem predicting that he will read the subject header and respond.

Perhaps he'll read your prediction, and not respond.

If he did, it might lend credence to your predictive powers, which would possibly support parapsychology.

Steve Hayes from Tshwane, South Africa
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/7734/stevesig.htm
E-mail - see web page, or parse: shayes at dunelm full stop org full stop uk
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Freud certainly observed, and he formulated hypotheses, but did he conduct suitable experiments and draw conclusions?

Could he? It's not like observing the workings of the mind is like watching to see at what point water boils. Are the conclusions drawn by a psychiatrist subject to the same rules of scientific method as the rules of, say, a physicist?

I don't know about Freud, but psychiatry is (at least in part) based on observing the effects of certain drugs on human behaviour, and forming hypotheses based on these observations, and even conducting experiements to test the hypotheses.
Not only drugs surgery too. Operations like lobotomy and leucotomy, and electro-convulsive treatment. I doubt that they were performed or prescribed by Freud, but they did form part of psychiatry.The trouble with Freud's theories is that they became an integral part of the worldview and mythology of much of Western culture. Clinical psychologists performed the same function as witchdoctors in much of African culture, and I've seen many learned treatises in which African explanations of cetain aspects of human behaviour have been translated into Freudian terms. The writers of such treatises, however, have not thought of themselves as doing a piece of cross-cultural translation, trying to make one culture intelligible in terms of another, but have rather seen it in terms of true and false.

They operate on two unscientific assumptions: that the understand of the other culture is ipso facto false, while that of their culture is correct. Of course such ethnocentrism is comon, and probably operates from both sides. Premodern African cultures, however, did not suffer from the delusion that their particular delusions were "scientific".
Demonization.
Source: Anderson 1990:256.
"An experience that a premodern person might have understood as possession by an evil spirit might be understood by a modern psychoanalytic patient as more mischief from the Id, and might be understood by a postmodern individual as a subpersonality making itself heard - might even, if you want to get really postmodern about it, be recognized as all three."

Steve Hayes from Tshwane, South Africa
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/7734/stevesig.htm
E-mail - see web page, or parse: shayes at dunelm full stop org full stop uk
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