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Hanly, C. (1990). The Concept of Truth in Psychoanalysis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 71:375-383.

(1990). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 71:375-383

The Concept of Truth in Psychoanalysis

Charles Hanly


A philosophical controversy concerning the nature of truth has begun to play an important part in psychoanalytic theorizing. The two major philosophical notions, the coherence and the correspondence theories and their use in psychoanalytic theory making, are examined. It is argued that although coherence is part of the criteria of truth, correspondence is the more essential and fundamental criterion. It was in this way that Freud used these concepts in creating psychoanalysis. Psychoanalytic discoveries concerning the psychogenesis of objectivity in perception and thought support the correspondence theory of truth and provide, in addition, an answer to the third party critique of correspondence. The correspondence theory as a basic attitude of mind is a necessary element in the respect for the patient upon which psychoanalytic therapy depends.

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