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Hanly, C. (2009). On Truth and Clinical Psychoanalysis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 90(2):363-373.

(2009). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 90(2):363-373

On Truth and Clinical Psychoanalysis Language Translation

Charles Hanly

Philosophers have enumerated three criteria of truth: coherence, correspondence and pragmatic. I shall define them and examine some of the relations among them. My overarching argument is that these three criteria of truth, when adequately defined, can be seen not to be at odds with each other but to work together in the search for truths in clinical psychoanalysis. I write ‘truths’ not because I think that truth is relative but because I do not subscribe to any metaphysical theory of absolute truth as in Plato, Descartes or Hegel.

A secondary purpose is to sustain a distinction between two concepts of inter-subjectivity. The first concept is the one that we are familiar with in common sense, scholarship and science: an observation is intersubjective, if it can be made by any competent observer of the relevant domain of fact. What is intersubjective in observation is the opposite of what is subjective, i.e. opposite to what, in an observation, belongs to the idiosyncrasies of the observer and not to what is being observed. The second, very different notion of intersubjectivity is that it consists of inextricable transference and countertransference interactions that take place in the relation between analyst and analysand in psychoanalysis and which result in the co-creation of the analysand whose nature and history are formed by the analytic relation. This definition of intersubjectivity legislates the historical being of the individual, a being that is independent of the analyst, out of existence.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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