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Galatzer-Levy, R.M. (1996). Telling Facts: History And Narration In Psychoanalysis. Edited by Joseph H. Smith and Humphrey Morris. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1992, 328 pp., $48.50.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 44:981-986.

(1996). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 44:981-986

Telling Facts: History And Narration In Psychoanalysis. Edited by Joseph H. Smith and Humphrey Morris. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1992, 328 pp., $48.50.

Review by:
Robert M. Galatzer-Levy

The modern attitude toward knowledge is (or was) passionately rational. Partly because of the work of a great believer in this attitude, Sigmund Freud, this attitude is no longer fully supportable. A postmodern stance attends to the limits of rationality. The idea of an independently existing reality, sharply separable from its investigators and the contexts of investigation, has become increasingly problematic, especially in the study of people. Nowhere is this more apparent than in psychoanalysis. The central Freudian finding that human actions often disguise expression of unconscious irrational and ignoble motives inevitably reflects back on psychoanalysis itself. There is no place for the investigator to stand outside these processes. The actions and findings of psychoanalytic investigators must be understood in the same way as any person's actions. They are inevitably shaped by conscious and unconscious intentions. Even the communication of findings shapes their effective meaning. The “just-the-facts” way of writing that pretends not to persuade and influence beyond objective data is itself a persuasive rhetorical device. In fact, there are no “objective” data.

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