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Norman, J. (2001). Response. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 82(4):807-810.

(2001). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 82(4):807-810

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Johan Norman

Dear Sir,

I would like to thank Dr Flink for his close reading of my article ‘The psychoanalyst and the baby’ (2001—Part 1 of Volume 82). Flink's basic assumption seems to emanate from a discussion in modern linguistic philosophy, perhaps chiefly from Cavell's The Psychoanalytic Mind: From Freud to Philosophy (1993). This study gives concepts such as meaning, language, communication, interpretation etc. ramifications other than those deriving from psychoanalytic clinical experience, which is my starting-point. It is difficult to make use of the conceptual apparatus of other disciplines, since every discipline has its own vertex. As I understand them, Flink and Cavell say that meaning and mental life presuppose language and that before language has been established there is nothing that can be called subjectivity, thought, meaning or understanding. I consider myself a professional only in the psychoanalytic field; when I borrow from or discuss matters using other disciplines—such as neurobiology, philosophy, linguistics—I must regard myself as a non-professional since I am not able to see the other discipline's good reasons behind the determination of their concepts. I will comment on four points: (1) the purpose of my work, (2) Flink's counterhypothesis, (3) the question of interpretation and (4) the question of language.

1) The purpose of my work

The object of my article is not, as Flink suggests, to show that I have ‘crossed boundaries by announcing a kind of psychoanalytical transcendentalism’ (p.

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