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Cajal and Freudianism in Spain 

Cajal and Freudianism in Spain
Cajal and Freudianism in Spain

Benjamin Ehrlich

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date: 20 April 2021

Spain was among the countries most receptive to Freud and psychoanalysis. Cajal was trying to make biology lead into psychophysiology; thus, the two neurologists were moving toward the same aim from opposite directions. Cajal’s research at that time addressed the most pressing questions of contemporary neuroanatomy: How do neurons recover from damage and what kind of damage can they recover from? Despite Cajal’s more absolutist doctrine, his students were willing to reconcile psychoanalysis with traditional biology, seizing on the more positivistic and evolutionary elements of the theory. In the aftermath of Einsteinian relativity, this younger cohort was far more comfortable with the role of subjectivity in science than Cajal, who was devoted to the facts. Cajal was always outwardly respectful of Freud’s work but never enthusiastic and at times harshly critical..

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