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Ramzy, I. (1983). The Place of Values in Psycho-Analysis. Psychoanal. Inq., 3(4):551-572.

(1983). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 3(4):551-572

The Place of Values in Psycho-Analysis

Ishak Ramzy, Ph.D.

The human mind with all its remarkable achievements and admitted limitations is not a pure intellect. People do not only perceive and remember or comprehend and reason, but they also like and dislike and prefer one thing to another, whether this is something they think of or something they recognize in the world around them. The most simple sensation bordering on the biological level of functioning, as much as the most abstract theory, is always coupled with a feeling of interest, pleasure, and attraction or of aversion, repulsion, and withdrawal. When such preferences are put in words, they take the form of statements about good and evil, beauty and ugliness, which are called judgements of value in contrast to judgements of fact, which are purportedly concerned with reality as such aside from individual or social preferences. In other words, whereas judgments of value are concerned with what is commendable or desirable, judgments of fact are concerned with what is (Goblot, 1927).

Within this frame of reference, one of the ways of classifying science is to divide it into the descriptive and the normative sciences. The term ‘normative’ is derived from the Latin norma, the carpenter's square, or the mason's level. The normative sciences are those whose subject is judgments of value, such as ethics and aesthetics.

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