Reply to Rohrlich and Bosley

Fri, 15 Dec 1995 10:55:55 CST

Though I don't think Ruby Rohrlich's "pie" metaphor quite does justice
to Freud's psychodynamic formulations (a "river" or "flow" would be
better), he did indeed think of our psyches as having a finite amount of
energy with which to operate; and this assumption is crucial for his
argument in *Civilization and Its Discontents*. Unlike John Bosley, I
find this among Freud's more valuable ideas--not because it meets high
scientific standards of description or DN explanation, but because it
makes sense out of many puzzling things. Now somebody will say, "you
could say as much for religion"; to which I reply, Freud's theories,
whatever their deficiencies, at least do not depend on postulates of
supernatural beings and forces, and they are--in principle at
least--subject to revision through ongoing interaction of reason and
evidence. All of which is to say, Freud's ideas, like Marx's, can be
considered "scientific" in the broad sense of that term. One other
comment: I don't think the typology for everyday explanations of
celibacy depends, for its value, on Freudian theory, as John Boswell
seems to fear. --Bob Graber