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Shane, E. Brothers, D. (2017). Prologue: The Ethical Turn. Psychoanal. Inq., 37(6):357-358.

(2017). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 37(6):357-358


Prologue: The Ethical Turn

Estelle Shane, Ph.D. and Doris Brothers, Ph.D.

With the loosening of the once-powerful grip of Freudian drive theory on psychoanalytic practice, we relationally-oriented analysts no longer believe that the causes of psychopathology reside exclusively within the self-contained psyches of our patients. Instead, convinced that psychological life emerges and is sustained within the infinitely complex, constantly evolving context of relationships, we have become increasingly concerned with the ethical dimension of those relationships. Our quest for authoritative, irreducible, transcendent explanations of behavior has been replaced by our penchant for exploring such complex and difficult-to-pin-down matters as what constitutes moral human relating. It is no wonder, then, that we turn to philosophers for guidance in framing our questions about ethics and for help in evaluating the answers we tentatively propose.

The writings of Donna Orange that reveal her profound understanding of continental philosophy have stimulated many of us to pursue these matters. Indeed, the articles in this issue confirm that what she has referred to as “the ethical turn” (2016, pp. 29–31) is transforming our field.

Our issue opens with penetrating examinations by Peter Shabad and by John Foehl of the ethics of giving and receiving. Shabad delves into relationships between parents and children, as well as those between analysts and patients, to demonstrate the complexities involved in generously making space for the vulnerable contributions of the Other.

[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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