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Gedo, J.E. (1998). Response by John E. Gedo. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 46(2):571-572.

(1998). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 46(2):571-572

Response by John E. Gedo

John E. Gedo

The letter from Orange, Stolorow, and Atwood concerning my essay “Reflections on Metapsychology, Theoretical Coherence, Hermeneutics, and Biology” deals with a very restricted (and peripheral aspect of that paper and therefore does not call for an extended reply. The writers are, of course, entitled to disagree with me; their practice of declaring that disagreements with them constitute errors is, however, objectionable, not to say impudent.

Parts of natural science are indeed interpretive, but (in my view) others, such as pathophysiology, cannot meaningfully be characterized that way. I also continue to regard the distinction between mental contents (e.g., a specific superstition) and thought processing (e.g., magical thinking) to be significant. Of course, I view my opinions as the result of making careful distinctions and not of dichotomizing; in other words, I see the writers' attacks on me as largely intersubjective phenomena, not dispassionate scientific arguments. For instance, they charge me with indicting whole schools of psychoanalysis by attributing indefensible positions to them; yet I nowhere implied that members of any school are in agreement on any matter; I have criticized ideas, not analytic groups.

If I have misunderstood the views of some of the writers about the possibility of discerning the nature of analysands' structured mental dispositions, I suspect that I have been misled by their own inconsistencies in presenting their viewpoint.

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