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Orange, D.M. Stolorow, R.D. Atwood, G.E. (1998). Hermeneutics, Intersubjectivity Theory, and Psychoanalysis. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 46(2):568-571.

(1998). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 46(2):568-571

Hermeneutics, Intersubjectivity Theory, and Psychoanalysis

Donna M. Orange, Robert D. Stolorow and George E. Atwood

Psychoanalytic writing can suffer from at least two conceptual maladies: bifurcation (dichotomizing, either/or thinking) and the failure to clarify terms and make careful distinctions. As a consequence of these mistakes, we can easily attribute to others views they would never hold. John Gedo's “Reflections on Metapsychology, Theoretical Coherence, Hermeneutics, and Biology” (1997, JAPA 45/3) exemplifies these errors.

Two crucial and untenable dichotomies run through this paper. The first, science versus hermeneutics, has long been abandoned in late-twentieth-century philosophy of science (see Hesse 1980; Suppe 1977; Orange 1995). Science, since the rise of relativity and quantum theories, has been seen as an interpretive discipline in which there is no escape from the mutual influence of observer and observed. Metaphor is everywhere in science—in the processes of discovery and of framing models for testing, for example.

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