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Moral StealthHow "Correct Behavior" Insinuates Itself into Psychotherapeutic Practice$
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Arnold Goldberg Goldberg

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780226301204

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226301365.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 05 August 2021

The Moral Posture of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy: The Case for Moral Ambiguity

The Moral Posture of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy: The Case for Moral Ambiguity

(p.31) Chapter Four The Moral Posture of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy: The Case for Moral Ambiguity
Moral Stealth
University of Chicago Press

One question that may be considered self-evident and thus unnecessary to posit is what the requirement of a set of moral standards means to psychoanalysis and to a psychoanalyst. If we concentrate on just a few of the virtues expected of an analyst, we may necessarily overlook others. Emmanuel Levinas claims that ethics arise in relation to the other and not from a law, while Owen Flanagan states that “morality resists theoretical unification under either a set of special-purpose rules or a single general-purpose rule or principle, such as the categorical imperative or the principle of utility.” Flanagan's alternate or non-foundational stance invites a critical examination of the possible heterogeneity of the moral standards for life, especially those that so dominate the practice of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. Psychoanalysis has something to offer the state of moral ambiguity, and so needs to foster the experience of not knowing too quickly if we have or have not done the right thing. In fact, ambivalence and uncertainty are hallmarks of the psychoanalytic enterprise.

Keywords:   moral standards, ethics, morality, Owen Flanagan, Emmanuel Levinas, psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, moral ambiguity, ambivalence, virtues

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