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Goldberg, A. (1995). Commentaries. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 43:1001-1003.

(1995). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 43:1001-1003


Arnold Goldberg

One of the very first meetings of the Chicago Psychoanalytic Society that I attended as a fledgling candidate was highlighted by a presentation by Howard Shevrin. I remember none of what he said but of late that is a common enough condition of mine that it bears no connection to the excellence of his paper. But I do remember that Merton Gill rose to say something provocative about science and psychoanalysis, and I clearly remember Shevrin's plea not to divide science into two modes or forms: the Geisteswissenschaften and the Naturwissenschaften. Since I could then neither spell nor comprehend those words, I was mightily impressed with both Shevrin and Gill, and remain so to this day. Now, however, I have improved somewhat both in my spelling and my comprehension, and my respect for Shevrin remains undiminished. It remains so not only because of his continued and productive research, but also because he has kept alive those knotty questions of the proper position of psychoanalysis in the scientific community—questions that too many of us dismiss or disregard or secretly hope someone will one day solve and explain in simple, easily spelled terms. To be sure, these are primarily philosophical questions, and Shevrin's plenary dialogue is properly to be read as a discussion among philosophers who aim not so much to resolve questions as to create a state of wonder and bewilderment.

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