Psychoanalytical methodology has been described as causal explanation or hermeneutic understanding. This methodological dichotomy has been introduced into psychopathology by Karl Jaspers. Contemporary authors' contributions in the area are discussed. Although these authors accept a role for both methods, they agree with Jaspers that psychoanalysis should be subjected to the logical limitations of hermeneutic analysis. A logical framework for the interaction of explaining with understanding is presented and discussed in relation to psychiatric research.