Adam Morton

  • The Foundations of Psychoanalysis: A Philosophical Critique by Adolf Grünbaum
    California, 310 pp, £15.60, December 1984, ISBN 0 520 05016 9
  • Schizophrenia and Human Value: Chronic Schizophrenia, Science and Society by Peter Barham
    Blackwell, 223 pp, £19.50, December 1984, ISBN 0 631 13474 3

It would be nice to know what to believe. In many areas of opinion, though psychology is a particularly good example, it is easy for an idea to be attractive, sometimes almost irresistibly so, without there being much reason for thinking that it is true. If epistemology existed – a science of evidence – it would sort these things out for us, and tell us when the evidence really backs up our inclinations. But, as seems with hindsight inevitable, epistemologies are as hard to evaluate as anything else. And so instead of asking, ‘Should I believe it?’ one often asks apparently easier questions: ‘What kind of reasons are these?’ ‘How does the evidence for this theory compare with the evidence for this other theory?’ Or simply: ‘Is this science?’

The full text of this book review is only available to subscribers of the London Review of Books.

You are not logged in