In the question What is the status of Freudian publications in psychological journals?, one user says:

I think your first challenge would be in labeling a paper as "Freudian" or not. There are many areas of research motivated by Freud and that may be labeled Freudian or Freud-inspired in some contexts, but the work itself uses a more scientific approach and need not be weighed down by Freud's own lack of rigor.

Another one says:

You would need to have an extensive knowledge of psychology paper authors for that @Ooker and I would challenge anyone who would think they know every single author and their affiliation towards particular psychological modalities.

Yet, it's common to say someone belongs to a school: "Alice is a Freudian", "Bob's paper works on humanism", etc. In what ground do those statements hold? Or to this day there is still no reliable method to make those statements concrete?

  • 3
    I am not a social scientist / philosopher, but the purpose of these labels is probably to express an opinion. It is highly improbable that a definition exists (or will ever exist) that everybody agrees on. This is hard in STEM-fields, and probably even harder for the other sciences.
    – Louic
    Jan 30, 2021 at 11:12
  • 1
    Why the downvotes?
    – user111388
    Jan 30, 2021 at 22:06

1 Answer 1


The statements "Alice is a Freudian", "Bob's paper works on humanism" are almost certainly based on the speakers knowledge of the Alice career and body of research, the sorts of people she collaborates with, possibly statements that Alice has made (she might have got up at a conference and said "I am a Freudian". Perhaps Alice is even a member of a Freudian scholarly society. In Bob's case the content of a paper will be described as "humanism" if the speaker has read the paper, considered the content, and decided that it is "humanism".

In both cases the statements are opinions and not facts.

  • Maybe at least we can rely on what the author identifies themselves?
    – Ooker
    Jan 30, 2021 at 16:08
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    I think the point is that there is no objectively correct answer to the question "Is X of school Y". Someone could claim to be a Freudian, but all their analyses could exclusively use the work of Yung. There is no "official" definition of what it means to be a Freudian, so it can't ever be correct or incorrect to describe Alice as a Freudian. Jan 30, 2021 at 16:59

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