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Cavell, M. Davidson, D. (1997). Review of The Psychoanalytic Mind: from Freud to Philosophy. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 78:1017-1018.

(1997). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 78:1017-1018

Review of The Psychoanalytic Mind: from Freud to Philosophy

Marcia Cavell and Donald Davidson

Dear Sir

I write in response to Allan D. Rosenblatt’s review of my book The Psychoanalytic Mind, from Freud to Philosophy (Int. J. Psychoanal., 78: 188-193). There is certainly room for disagreement about many of my contentions in that book, but Mr Rosenblatt attributes to me several positions that are simply not mine. Disagreement is one thing; talking past the other, another. Since I know my book can be rough reading, I hope here to make a little clearer what some of the issues are with which my readers might disagree.

1) Rosenblatt asserts that I revive ‘the long discredited “doctrine of immaculate perception’”. What I do claim is that it is a requirement of interpretation—whether the interpreter is psychoanalyst, anthropologist, or friend with friend—that the interpreter take some of the other’s reports to be true. (A good part of the longest chapter of my book—Chapter One—is devoted to a discussion of this idea and to the concept of truth at its heart. There I discuss also the considerations that have led people to identify truth with correspondence or with coherence, and I say why I think both views say something partially right and partially wrong.) This is a long way from any doctrine of ‘immaculate perception’.

2) He ignores my distinction in the chapter on emotions (Chapter Seven) between affects and emotions, and my explicit thesis that there is a continuum from affects, which

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