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Psychoanalysis, the Tyranny of Objectivism, and the Rebellion of the Subjective

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ABSTRACT

The standard definition of psychology as the behavior of living organisms is subject to scrutiny and found to be untenable. Such a view is self-contradictory, puts method before subject matter, and misconstrues the very nature of the psychic. The objectivist view is an index of a materialist culture that defines all value, and even all reality, in quantifiable terms. Some of the damaging consequences of this view are presented, and then the phenomenological alternative is proposed. The latter avoids reification of the psyche by identifying human being in Heideggerean terms as Being-in-the-world, or Dasein, Being-there. This conceptualization provides the basis for understanding human experience by an attitude of openness to the existing subject, precisely the stance of the psychoanalytic clinician. Psychoanalytic therapy, as one of the few bastions left for the study of human subjectivity, constitutes a rebellion against the hegemonic view of reality as quantitative. For that very reason analysis is in a unique position to lead a movement against the dominant ideology of quantification. It is argued that psychoanalysis matters because it is one of the few arenas left in which human subjectivity is appreciated and studied. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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