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Safran, J.D. (2012). Doublethinking or Dialectical Thinking: A Critical Appreciation of Hoffman's “Doublethinking” Critique. Psychoanal. Dial., 22(6):710-720.

(2012). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 22(6):710-720

Doublethinking or Dialectical Thinking: A Critical Appreciation of Hoffman's “Doublethinking” Critique

Jeremy D. Safran, Ph.D.

Irwin Z. Hoffman's (2009)Doublethinking our way to ‘scientific’ legitimacy” is an important and thought-provoking paper that tends to evoke passionate and polarized responses. Important threads running throughout his paper include the pitting of objectivist against constructivist perspectives and a concern that the objectivist epistemology underlying most systematic empirical research endangers important psychoanalytic values. In this paper I underscore and elaborate on the importance of certain aspects of Hoffman's paper, while at the same time arguing for a less polarized perspective, by appealing to contemporary developments in the philosophy of science that seek a middle ground between objectivism and constructivism. This middle ground recognizes that science has an irreducibly social, hermeneutic, and political character, and that data are only one element in an ongoing conversation between members of a scientific community. I also argue that the rules and standards of practice are worked out and modified over time by the scientific community, and that it is critical for psychoanalysts to be members of this larger community.

[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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