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Gardner, M.R. (1994). Is that a Fact? Empiricism Revisited, or a Psychoanalyst at Sea. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 75:927-937.

(1994). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 75:927-937

Is that a Fact? Empiricism Revisited, or a Psychoanalyst at Sea

M. Robert Gardner


In this paper, the author has tried to illustrate a few of the long, tortuous, and illusive workings by which an analyst, in constructing the configurations called 'facts', tries to combine the perspectives, traditions, and methods of humanism and science, and to move from the subjectivities of observation, character, experience, and theory toward the goal of a relatively informed subjectivity. He has tried in particular to illustrate: (1) Characteristic sequences of trial and error, and some events of observation of self and other, that lead again and again to corrections, modifications, and expansions of our previous constructions of 'facts'. (2) Aspects of our struggles to find ways to be guided by our theories and our other suppositions and predilections, but to the degree possible, when possible, not driven. (3) Aspects of a personal perspective—attention to a patient's hidden questions—by which the author tries to identify facts of the surface that may help him to help his patients to advance their self inquiries and to bridge to some facts of the depths that have contributed to the shape of those facts of the surface.

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