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Goldberg, A. (1980). Letter to the Editor. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 61:91-92.

(1980). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 61:91-92

Letter to the Editor

Arnold Goldberg

To the Editor:

Although at first it may seem somewhat surprising and even inappropriate to have an answer to Dr Mortimer Ostow's letter in your Part 4 Vol. 60 (1979) about the case of Mr Z, written by someone other than Dr Heinz Kohut, it may aid in enabling a study of the issues to take place less in the spirit of opposition and more in that of mutual scrutiny and discussion.

To begin with, I wholeheartedly agree with Dr Ostow that if the analysis had been done right in the first place, it would not have needed to be repeated. There is no doubt that gifted analysts for years have successfully analyzed such patients, and I am certain that Dr Kohut would concur with both of these points. I think the single, outstanding problem to be examined is not whether Dr Kohut did a good job or knew what he was doing, or even if a good supervisor could have helped him, but rather if the extant psychoanalytic theory was adequate to the task. Before one can attend to the particulars of this case, I think it is necessary to recall something that we often fail to adequately recognize, but which has been best presented by the philosopher Karl Popper, who tells us that there are no facts: '… the apparent data of experience are always interpretations in the light of theories and therefore, affected by the character of all theories … facts are interpreted in the light of theories; they are soaked in theory, as it were.'

We simply cannot have a clear-cut observation without a pre-existing theory.

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