"The safeguards contained in the scientific method are repugnant to some who devote themselves to psychotherapy, and their argument against it always harks back to the uniqueness of the individual." The author points out that this is an obscurantist argument and it does not follow that because an individual is a unique reality, he cannot be compared with anyone else. On this basis there would be no science of zoology as every individual animal is also a unique reality, but this has not been an obstacle to comparison and collective study in this science. The argument is reminiscent of claims prevalent during the controversies about evolution when the opponents asserted that man was an improper subject for comparitive study because of his fundamental distinction from all other creatures. Only insofar as the common denominators between individuals can be ascertained may the subject matter of psychiatry become the object of scientific and rational inquiry and without this it could not be taught. We would be in the position of having to accept the pronouncements of supposedly singularly gifted individuals on faith, and continuity in the field would presumably depend entirely upon apprenticeship.
- Copyright © 1958 by the American Academy of Pediatrics