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Rosen, V.H. (1964). Symposium on Fantasy—Contribution to the Discussion. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 45:195-198.

(1964). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 45:195-198

Symposium on Fantasy—Contribution to the Discussion

Victor H. Rosen


The four prepared contributions to this symposium, published above, represent such a diversity of viewpoints and cover such a multitude of interrelated topics that it is not possible to do them justice or to attempt a synthesis in the short time available for their discussion. Thus I will only attempt a few random comments and queries where it has seemed to me that relative neglect of some aspect of the problem indicates a footnote or a connecting paragraph.

The use of a familiar word for an abstract concept in a specialized discipline is a mixed blessing. It minimizes scientific jargon on the one hand, but extends the possibilities for individual connotation as well as confusion about which of several lexical meanings should be applied in a given context. Bénassy and Diatkine urge delay in delimiting the term 'fantasy', lest we find in our discussion only what we have allowed to enter into our definition. To defer a consensual agreement in the matter of semantics, however, also carries with it the danger of discussing our own fantasies about 'fantasy' with differences in approach that are more apparent than substantive. The important distinction between 'reality' and 'truth' alluded to by Lagache is also relevant in this connexion. The semantic problem is compounded when we speak of 'unconscious fantasy'. If we have no practical agreement on a nomenclature for conscious contents and processes, we are left only with Mark Anthony's description of the crocodile when we speak of 'unconscious fantasy'.

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