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Barratt, B.B. (1978). Critical Notes on Schafer's “Action Language”. Ann. Psychoanal., 6:287-303.

(1978). Annual of Psychoanalysis, 6:287-303

IV Interdisciplinary Research

Critical Notes on Schafer's “Action Language”

Barnaby B. Barratt, Ph.D.

Contemporary psychoanalysis has to reconfront two intricately related sets of questions. The first concerns the method of inquiry and the grounding of Freudian knowledge. The second concerns the character of Freudian discoveries and the philosophical or “metascientific” framework within which they may be expressed most appropriately. Freud's prevalent, although intermittent, recourse to the paradigms of the physical sciences for the articulation of his psychology has instigated profound and recurrent problems in the subsequent history of psychoanalytic thinking. The significance of the contemporary European rereading of the Freudian texts lies in the animative proposal that psychoanalysis is not and cannot become a natural scientific discipline, but that it essentially constitutes a hermeneutic doctrine concerned with the vicissitudes of personal meaning and the alienation of human discourse.


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