Sigmund Freud’s (1856-1939) posthumously published Entwurf einer Psychologie (Outline of a Psychology) is considered a turning point between his early career indebted to experimental psychology and the later one dedicated to psychoanalysis. While the 1895 manuscript started with the assertion that psychology was a natural science, it ended less self-assuredly: faced with the problem of infinite regress, Freud turned halfway in the manuscript from a naturalistic to an interpretative model according to which the functioning of neurons resembled the operations of language. The book concludes with a discussion of Freud’s text and its readings in the twenty-first century as a manifesto for neuroscientific thinking avant la lettre. Even though kinaesthetic knowing did not win in the disciplinary wars of the early twentieth century, more recently there has been renewed interest in it. One contemporary field, neuroaesthetics, has promoted the conflation of kinaesthesia with formalism in ways uncannily similar to the history outlined in this book. Using Freud’s dilemma at the turn of the twentieth century, the epilogue reminds the reader of the argument repeated throughout the book that such epistemological claims have ethical implications and that therefore close attention should be paid to politics of knowledge.
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