Today many philosophers and historians of science would acknowledge that there are different kinds of activity that we call 'science' and different kinds of reasoning that are practised in them. But one kind of reasoning that has not received as much attention as it deserves is the form of reasoning that John Forrester aptly called 'thinking in cases'.
What exactly is involved in using particular case histories to think systematically about social, psychological and historical processes? Can one move from a textured particularity, like that in Freud's famous cases, to a level of reliable generality? In this book, Forrester teases out the meanings of the psychoanalytic case, how to characterise it and account for it as a particular kind of writing. In so doing, he moves from psychoanalysis to the law and medicine, to philosophy and the constituents of science. Freud and Foucault jostle here with Thomas Kuhn, Ian Hacking and Robert Stoller; Einstein and Freud's connection emerges as a case study of two icons in the general category of the Jewish Intellectual; and Donald Winnicott struggles with the limitations of singularity, nonetheless providing a successful individual therapy.
While Forrester was particularly concerned to analyse the style of reasoning that was dominant in psychoanalysis and related disciplines, his path-breaking account of thinking in cases will be of great interest to scholars, students and professionals in a wide range of disciplines, from history, law and the social sciences to medicine, clinical practice and the therapies of the word.