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Stern, D.B. (2019). Constructivism in the Age of Trump: Truth, Lies, and Knowing the Difference. Psychoanal. Dial., 29(2):189-196.

(2019). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 29(2):189-196

Constructivism in the Age of Trump: Truth, Lies, and Knowing the Difference

Donnel B. Stern, Ph.D.

Donald Trump lies so often that some have wondered whether he has poisoned the well. Can we continue to defend the constructivism of relational psychoanalysis, with its emphasis on interpretive understanding? Might it not be claimed that this is actually the very approach Trump himself takes? Does an openness to interpretive understanding allow anybody to just say anything, as Trump does? Would our views perhaps be more justified and defensible, and give less shelter to the world’s liars, if we shifted to a reliance on objectivism and its advocacy of “facts?” I say no. I take the point of view, drawing illustrations from the news of the months just before this presentation was delivered (June 2018), that the crucial democratic influence of constructivism not only persists when despotic leaders lie in order to enforce their agendas, it is actually magnified under circumstances like those we face now.

[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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