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Silverman, D.K. (1996). Arithmetic of a One- and Two-Person Psychology: Merton M. Gill, an Essay. Psychoanal. Psychol., 13(2):267-274.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 13(2):267-274

Arithmetic of a One- and Two-Person Psychology: Merton M. Gill, an Essay

Review by:
Doris K. Silverman, Ph.D.

Although I believe that psychoanalysis never achieved the scientific status that Kuhn (1962/1970) suggested warrants the label of a paradigm, I nonetheless use the concept of paradigm and paradigm shift in a broad sense. I wish to encompass changes in clinical technique and a change in a philosophical outlook, both of which have increasingly garnered attention in the psychoanalytic community. To the extent that we are willing to loosely use the term paradigm change in psychoanalysis, Merton Gill was in the forefront of this shift at least in these two arenas. As I hope to demonstrate, I think his underlying assumptions are less clear, at times even inconsistent; however, Gill would have been the first to acknowledge that he had not tackled the philosophical issues in any systematic way

He believed (Gill, 1994b) that the philosophical orientation for psychoanalysis should be social constructivism, and because psychoanalysis addresses a discourse of personal meanings, it is a hermeneutic science. Very little of his intellectual energies addressed these philosophical issues. I certainly understand his reluctance. To step into the complex philosophical hermeneutic literature—a literature, by the way, in which I am a novice—is to confront embattled positions, arguments of differences, and the insistence on the part of many hermeneuticists of the importance of logical discourse; reasoned argument; and the aesthetics of meaningful, coherent, and persuasive treatises (e.g., Habermas, as discussed by Bernstein, 1983; McGowan, 1991; and especially Norris, 1990; Gademer, 1975).

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