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Silverman, D.K. (1994). From Philosophy to Poetry: Changes in Psychoanalytic Discourse. Psychoanal. Dial., 4(1):101-128.

(1994). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 4(1):101-128

From Philosophy to Poetry: Changes in Psychoanalytic Discourse

Doris K. Silverman, Ph.D.

This paper addresses some assumptions underlying psychoanalytic theories. It uses Rorty's concepts of philosophy and poetry to capture distinctions: the former a search for universal truths and the latter an emphasis on meanings in discourse. Freud's embeddedness in 19th-century positivism organized his metatheorical assumptions, while some object relational theorists are inclined toward a constructivist point of view. For many theoreticians these two vantage points overlap; others insist on a sundering of the two. I maintain that polarizing these two positions is not useful. Both philosophical stances ask different kinds of questions and both types of questions are important for a general as well as clinical theory of psychoanalysis.

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