"hermeneutics of suspicion"; philosophical criticism; critical attitude; historiography; psychohistory; historical process; historical source; psychoanalysis
Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
Folia Philosophica, T. 34 (2015), s. 151-184
The article concerns some aspect of the impact which psychoanalysis (depth psychology) had on the research practice of historiography. The author asks in what ways “psychoanalytic thinking” modified the handling of a historical source. He argues that the basis for the modification was a unique “hermeneutics of suspicion,” embedded in depth psychology. At the core of this hermeneutics is the attitude of a psychoanalytic
therapist—a search for “a deeper meaning” of a particular psychopathological symptom, a meaning cunningly concealed but at the same time indirectly (and perversely) enacted and communicated by this symptom. The article identifies the main reasons for hermeneutics of suspicion penetrating historians’ way of thinking: “ontological” (connected with the specific view of the historical process adopted by historiographers of psychoanalytic sympathies) and “methodological” (related to the discovery and affirmation of the methodological
“kinship” between researching history and practicing psychoanalysis). The author further argues that, contrary to superficial readings, psychoanalytic hermeneutics of suspicion is not just a radicalized version of the critical attitude towards the source, which by default marks scientific historiography in its various forms, but that it goes beyond it in important ways. The article considers also various practical consequences of the presence
of this kind of hermeneutics in handling historical sources.