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Cushman, P. (2013). Because the Rock Will not Read the Article: A Discussion of Jeremy D. Safran's Critique of Irwin Z. Hoffman's “Doublethinking our way to Scientific Legitimacy”. Psychoanal. Dial., 23(2):211-224.

(2013). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 23(2):211-224

Because the Rock Will not Read the Article: A Discussion of Jeremy D. Safran's Critique of Irwin Z. Hoffman's “Doublethinking our way to Scientific Legitimacy”

Philip Cushman, Ph.D.

In this commentary I interpret Safran's discussion of Hoffman's 2009 article by turning to the broad historical context in which their exchange takes place. I situate psychology's traditional attempt to claim a scientific warrant for its practices by discussing the 400-year-old modern-era framework first described by Descartes that is still in place today. In the process I introduce philosophical hermeneutics, which I take to be an extended argument against Cartesian distinctions such as mind/body and subjective/objective. I draw from my (1995) suggestion that a historical era can be interpreted by examining how the self, its ills, its healers, and its healing techniques come to light. My subject is the predominant self of the last 30 years, a self that increasingly appears to be understood as a computer, and I interpret the current allure of objectivist evaluative measures and manualization as an expression of that self. Finally I suggest that Hoffman's and Safran's differences are reflective of opposing moral and political responses to our current cultural terrain. Compliance with scientistic dictates about psychotherapy outcomes or graduate school “competencies” does not represent a breakthrough in therapeutic or educational technology; instead, compliance naively but effectively reinforces the political status quo.

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