At first glance, psychoanalysis and ordinary language philosophy bear little resemblance. The apparent focus of psychoanalysis on the inner self might seem to jar with the appeal to the ordinary. Indeed, since Ludwig Wittgenstein voiced his suspicions about Sigmund Freud, philosophers have largely agreed that the two disciplines are, despite converging in some instances, ultimately incompatible. Stanley Cavell is an exception to this rule. In a 1997 review of Terrors and Experts for the London Review of Books, he picks up on Adam Phillips's description in an earlier book of D. W. Winnicott's "almost religious commitment to an idea of simple and personal truth, to an ordinary-language psychoanalysis." Winnicott's commitment to "an ordinary-language psychoanalysis" is, Phillips argues, based on the conviction that the how of what we do and do not say, and what we do and do not do, captures better than any psychoanalytic technique each of our simple, personal, and often incommunicable truths (W 25). Cavell shares this commitment to the ordinary as something that owes its therapeutic powers to its ability to capture the way we truly are. His attentiveness to this aspect of Winnicott's work marks, perhaps, nothing more than a brief flash of recognition upon finding his own reflection in Winnicott.


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pp. 23-45
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