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Sosnik, R.A. (1992). Prologue. Psychoanal. Inq., 12(4):503-505.

(1992). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 12(4):503-505


Rogelio A. Sosnik, M.D.

This issue of psychianalytic inquiry is unusual in several respects: the topic, the participants, and the language — not only in the terms used but also in the kind of thinking that lies behind those terms.

The contributors have in common their Latin American roots, although they practice psychoanalysis in Uruguay, Israel, Argentina, Switzerland, and Mexico: different countries, different social contexts, and — inevitably because they are psychoanalysts — different theoretical approaches.

The “Ethical Texture of Psychoanalysis” in its clinical and theoretical dimensions is also an unusual theme in psychoanalytic literature. What has ethics to do with psychoanalysis? Ethics has been integral to psychoanalysis since the latter's very inception, with Freud's (1892-1899) definition of psychic conflict in terms of the struggle between instinctual impulse seeking satisfaction and the satisfaction of yielding to the moral value that represses it. Instinctual satisfaction challenges the social “good” as it regulates exchanges between individuals within a society, and it challenges the “good” conscience which harmonizes the current moral values. Thus the ethical dimension of psychic conflict is set in motion. Psychic conflict contains both instinctual and ethical conflict, both thus centered at the core of the analytic task.

Psychoanalysis adopted an ideal of the practicing psychoanalyst: it was the romantic figure of the natural scientist, ideally neutral and totally abstinent in his apparently “objective” observation of the field.

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