Is truth an illusion? Psychoanalysis and postmodernism

Bell, David (2009) Is truth an illusion? Psychoanalysis and postmodernism. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 90 (2). pp. 331-345. ISSN 0020-7578

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The sort of reflection that I have been engaging in is just the sort of reflection that both Comte and Rorty see as pointless. For Comte, such reflection is a throwback to a pre-scientific age; for Rorty, a reluctance to enter fully into the postmodern one. Some of you will probaly agree with one or other of these thinkers. But in my view reflection on just what it is that makes thinkers like Rorty doubt the very idea of representing the world, and I think there is a Rorty as well as a Comte in each of us, however suppressed, is part of understanding ourselves, and not just part of understanding certain sophisticated and influential thinkers. For what is common to Rorty and Comte is the idea that much of what we think we know cannot have the status it seems to have. For Richard Rorty the recommended response is to take a more ‘playful’ attitude to what we think we know; and for August Comte it is to sternly restrict ourselves to ‘positive knowledge'.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Truth, Psychoanalysis, Postmodernism
Subjects: Psychological Therapies, Psychiatry, Counselling > Psychoanalysis
Department/People: Adult and Forensic Services

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