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Tip: To sort articles by sourceā€¦

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

After you perform a search, you can sort the articles by Source. This will rearrange the results of your search, displaying articles according to their appearance in journals and books. This feature is useful for tracing psychoanalytic concepts in a specific psychoanalytic tradition.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Davison, W.T. (1994). Affect in Psychoanalysis: A Clinical Synthesis: By Charles Spezzano. Volume 2 of the Relational Perspectives Books Series. Series Editor, Stephen A. Mitchell. Hillsdale, NJ/London: The Analytic Press. 1993. Pp. 250.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 75:859-861.

(1994). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 75:859-861

Affect in Psychoanalysis: A Clinical Synthesis: By Charles Spezzano. Volume 2 of the Relational Perspectives Books Series. Series Editor, Stephen A. Mitchell. Hillsdale, NJ/London: The Analytic Press. 1993. Pp. 250.

Review by:
Walter T. Davison

If psychoanalysis is worth doing then its worth rests on the fact that it makes a unique and substantial contribution to discussion of human affective life, says Charles Spezzano. Having set this challenge to himself, he undertakes the task of proving that psychoanalysis is worth doing and he succeeds. His journey leads him through the views of Grünbaum, the hermeneutists, and to a relational model of inquiry, discovery and truth, which redefines truth as a rational consensus achieved by a dialogical community through active critical argument. According to this definition, truth is not an attribute of the world, but of our conversations about the world. Even when it may seem that an experiment has established the truth, that is never so. Each report of an experiment contains an invitation by the author to others in the field to talk about what he has observed and voice their agreement or disagreement about his findings. So truth, in any field of science, is only our best estimate given what is known at the time.

In discussing how psychoanalysts now talk about affects, the author reflects that Rappaport's 1953 paper convinced the entire community of psychoanalytic scholars that no useful theory of affects existed. Spezzano then meticulously undermines Rappaport's position, dismissing a theory of affects that rests on energic and threshold concepts. In the author's model, affects are not so much direct derivatives of drives as definitions of them. We seek a feeling of safety or sexual satisfaction, and when we attain the desired affective state we defend the psychic reality that yields that feeling.

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