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Rosenblatt, A.D. (1997). Response. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 78:1018-1019.

(1997). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 78:1018-1019


Allan D. Rosenblatt

Dear Sir:

I welcome Professor Cavell’s clarification of her positions. Without prior consultation with the author, reviewers are usually constrained to discern the author’s conceptions and beliefs from the text of the book. I will address Cavell’s disclaimers as she lists them, with the appropriate quotes from her text.

1) My full statement is: ‘Acknowledging that patients’ thoughts are often distorted, she asserts that they are responses to what are usually veridical perceptions. In this respect, she appears to revive the long discredited “doctrine of immaculate perception’” (p. 189). Note the qualifiers ‘in this respect’ and ‘appears’. On p. 6 of her book, Cavell states: ‘although the patient’s thoughts are often distorted, they are generally responses to perceptions that are more or less veridical’. It is just this belief that perceptions are veridical registrations of external reality, rather than constructed by interaction between external stimuli and subjective wishes, fears, and other imaginative processes, that has been termed by Schimek (1975, Int. Rev. Psychoanal., 2: 171-87), Sandler & Sandler (1987, p. 332, Int. J. Psychoanal., 68: 331-41), and no doubt others, as ‘the doctrine of immaculate perception’.

2) I have not ignored Cavell’s distinction between affects and emotions. Indeed, I cited it in my statements that she ‘takes a cognitivist position that thought is a necessary condition for emotion, and, since she believes thought does not exist pre-verbally, therefore the pre-verbal infant does not experience emotion … Similarly animals are said to lack affects that have any propositional content, i.

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