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Flink, P. (2002). Reply to Norman and Thomson-Salo. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 83(1):267-268.

(2002). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 83(1):267-268

Reply to Norman and Thomson-Salo Related Papers

Per-Olof Flink

Dear Sirs,

Thomson-Salo has submitted a contribution (2001) to my discussion with Norman (Norman, 2001a, 2001b; Flink, 2001) endorsing Norman's ideas. Briefly her points are as follows.

First, Trevarthen's research (1998, 2000) proves convincingly that there is non-verbal communication with very small children (infants) that neuroscience and specialists doing research on small children consider meaningful.

Second, Flink's statement that the infant is not yet able to understand any kind of meaning seems to me to be one that can only be made from outside the field. She says also: It seems important to reiterate that we cannot use the premises of another discipline to ignore the empirical research of the field in which we are working, as well as the clinical experience gathered there.

Norman's reply to me (2001b) makes it clear that there are concepts in our debate that are based on differing assessments and implications. To these we assign terms such as ‘meaning’, ‘mental’ and even ‘concept’. Two other questions also pose difficulties: what does empiricism mean? And what constitutes the basis for empirical assertions? Cavell (1993), to whom I refer, and I have employed other bases for our use of the word ‘mental’ to those employed by Norman and Thomson-Salo. Norman's elucidation of these is the point of departure for this discussion. Definition of terms is important in scientific work and in communication.

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