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Ray, R.B. (1997). Interrogations. Psychoanal. Rev., 84(5):667-680.

(1997). Psychoanalytic Review, 84(5):667-680


Robert B. Ray

This essay represents my first response to an argument discovered in Gregory Ulmer's “The Miranda Warnings: An Experiment in Hyper-rhetoric” (Ulmer, 1994). Proposing that conventional criticism's exclusively hermeneutic emphasis needs the complement of a “heuretic” alternative emphasizing invention, Ulmer suggests that Western thinking's reliance on interrogation is being shadowed by the non-teleological modes of hypertext. The detective story, in other words, so often identified as the basis of all Western storytelling since Oedipus, gives way to something like collage or dancing. Ulmer defends this move by citing Page duBois's Torture and Truth (1991):

Page duBois has written a history of the metaphor associating torture with the search for truth in the alphabetic apparatus. Her focus is the Greek term basanos. “It means first of all the touchstone used to test gold for purity; the Greeks extended its meaning to denote a test or trial to determine whether someone is real or genuine. It then comes to mean also inquiry by torture, ‘the question.’” The semantic field of basanos spread by metaphor from the Greek legal system into philosophy, gathering a set of practices and values…. The migration of the term into philosophy concerns the Greek idea of truth as something hidden, buried, secret…. “logic and dialectic are police arts. Philosophy becomes a method of arrest and discipline; philosophical argument is a dividing, a splitting, a fracturing of the logical body, a process that resembles torture.”

How does this argument apply to the practices—filmmaking and psychoanalysis—linked by this journal's special issue?

1. Interrogations

Scene 1 [violence implied]:

The Big Sleep.

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