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Hayes, G.E. (1994). Reply to Ghent and Stern. Psychoanal. Dial., 4(3):499-501.

(1994). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 4(3):499-501

Reply to Ghent and Stern Related Papers

Gary E. Hayes, Ph.D.

To respond to commentaries on one's own writing is always a daunting and usually a stimulating task. To do so in a few brief pages heightens the challenge. At its most productive level such an exchange of ideas serves to begin a dialogue that will enrich the thinking and practice of all who participate in it.

This level of enrichment is certainly stimulated by the response of Dr. Ghent. His ability to propose multiple, alternative readings of my clinical material brought the process to life in a useful and realistic way. By fleshing out in additional detail the relationship between the transference reaction described in the clinical vignette and the epistemological issues addressed in the theoretical section of the paper, Ghent strengthened a much needed bridge. I found this reinforced bridge to be particularly useful given the highly abstract nature of the theory under consideration.

Although time and space do not permit a continuation of my dialogue with Ghent here, I am confident that it will continue in other forums and around other issues with equal productivity. The basis for a mutually enriching exchange of ideas with Dr. Stern, however, seems less clear.

At first it is difficult to understand why this should be so. Stern demonstrates an obvious interest in many of the key epistemological issues addressed in my paper. Most notable is his concern with the implications of the hermeneutical movement as a framework for all psychoanalytic understanding. His juxtaposition of the hermeneutic circle with “the transference circle” serves as a useful and vivid crystalization of the two poles of thought within psychoanalysis about the conditions of human understanding.

Rather than going on from this point to discuss the central conceptual argument of my paper, that the critical theory of deconstruction can serve as a model to further expand our understanding of the basis of psychoanalytic knowledge, Stern turns to a polemical attack on my

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© 1994 The Analytic Press

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