Welcome back to Know Thyself on the Value and Limits of Self Knowledge. We are now embarking on part two of this course, in which our focus will be theories of the unconscious, as well as theories of the emotions. Today, I want to focus primarily on Sigmund Freud and the psychoanalytic theory that he helped to develop and popularize, this is by no means an attempt to give a comprehensive discussion of psychoanalysis. It was a huge, highly influential movement for much of the 20th century, but I want today, just to focus on some of what I take to be the core aspects of Sigmund Freud's own development of that theory, hoping that some of the points that we make, will be able to shed light on much larger themes that are of interest to us in this course. So, Sigmund Freud is a psychologist who was trained as a physical scientists primarily as a biologist. He did a lot of work on the neurobiology of fishes in the early part of his career, and the reading that I want to have associated with our discussion today is a book of his called, "Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis" that was the record of a series of lectures that he gave in 1916-1917 at the University of Vienna. When you read Freud, part of what I think you'll find interesting is that he has his own version of the Socratic Method. Of course, when you're a writer it's very difficult to engage in a pure Socratic dialogue because of course you've got to, it's not clear how you could engage your interlocutor, your audience by asking them questions, but Freud comes interestingly close and makes a provocative methodology in the process, and that is you'll often find him making statements, making hypotheses, offering explanations of phenomena, stating his position. But then you'll see him say things like this, "I can hear an objection arising from you now," not because he's literally claiming to hear somebody making an objection, but rather he's imagining an interlocutor, raising a worry about his point of view. He's imagining someone resisting what he's saying in a certain way, and then will come back and respond to that with his own counter-argument. This is a good method for argumentative writing and argumentative speaking for the reason that, not only does it give you a chance to state your position and your reasons for it, it also allows you to allay some of the skepticism, some of the doubts that an audience might have. If you're able to do that successfully, to bring them over to your side, that much more fully. So, it's an aspect of Freud's methodology that is interesting and I think fairly successful. But there are epistemic peculiarities of what Freud refers to as psychoanalysis, and one of them is that as he says, objective of verification for that theory. When asks how one knows whether that theory is true, his answer is, "Well, when learned psychoanalysis on oneself by studying one's own personality." As most experimental psychologists today would tell you, as neuroscientists today would tell you, that probably is not a very good methodology because it doesn't involve random sampling, it doesn't involve controlled trials. It's too easy to come up with subjective answers to questions that are perhaps affected by your expectations as to how the questions should be answered. So, this is not a methodology that would pass muster according to contemporary theorizing. Furthermore, even on Freud's own terms, I want to suggest that this is, that statement of his, does not quite fully represent his way of justifying his theory and the reason is as follows. It seems to me in the background of some of his theorizing, we'll see precisely how that works in a moment. In the background of some of his theorizing, there's a principle which is itself perfectly objective and allows theorizing to be put up to scrutiny that anybody can assess, and that is what philosophers of science have referred to as the principle of Inference to the Best Explanation. Inference to the Best Explanation says the following, "When you're confronted with a puzzling phenomenon or range of phenomena, adopt that hypothesis, if there is one, that best explains it." This notion of Inference to the Best Explanation can do with some unpacking and I'll try to explain that a little bit now. First of all, I know it's not always clear what counts as best but the best explanation, sometimes explanations seem appealing but they're not the best because for example, they are unnecessarily complicated or perhaps because they don't cohere fully with other things we already have established. Likewise, there might not be any explanation of a range of phenomena that goes above a certain threshold. Reminding ourselves of what the Delphic Oracle said to Socrates' friend Chaerephon. We might notice that being the best explanation might be because all the other explanations are terrible and this one that you have is modestly okay. That might not make it acceptable. We might need to have that explanation be above a certain threshold. All those qualifications in mind, we can still say that, part of what Freud's methodology seems to presuppose is that, when you've got something puzzling, some aspect of human behavior for example that's puzzling, you should look for the explanation that most directly, simply, effectively, compellingly accounts for it, and we'll be asking ourselves whether the theories that Freud gives are consistently of that sort. If so, maybe he's justifying his position in an effective way.