CHAPTER VII

Confirmation and disconfirmation

‘In human society, at all its levels, persons confirm one another in a practical way, to some extent or other, in their personal qualities and capacities, and a society may be termed human in the measure to which its members confirm one another.

The basis of man’s life with man is twofold, and it is one—the wish of every man to be confirmed as what he is, even as what he can become, by men; and the innate capacity in man to confirm his fellow-men in this way. That this capacity lies so immeasurably fallow constitutes the real weakness and questionableness of the human race: actual humanity exists only where this capacity unfolds. On the other hand, of course, an empty claim for confirmation, without devotion for being and becoming, again and again mars the truth of the life between man and man.

Men need, and it is granted to them, to confirm one another in their individual being by means of genuine meetings: but beyond this they need, and it is granted to them, to see the truth, which the soul gains by its struggle, light up to the others, the brothers, in a different way, and even so be confirmed.’

MARTIN BUBER (1957a)

Total confirmation of one man by another is an ideal possibility G

-81-

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Self and Others
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface to Second Edition ix
  • Preface to First Edition xi
  • Acknowledgements xiii
  • Part One - Modes of Interpersonal Experience 1
  • Chapter I - Phantasy and Experience 3
  • Chapter II - Phantasy and Communication 18
  • Chapter III - Pretence and Elusion 29
  • Chapter IV - The Counterpoint of Experience 39
  • Chapter V - The Coldness of Death 53
  • Part Two - Forms of Interpersonal Action 63
  • Chapter VI - Complementary Identity 65
  • Chapter VII - Confirmation and Disconfirmation 81
  • Chapter VIII - Collusion 90
  • Chapter IX - False and Untenable Positions 107
  • Chapter X - Attributions and Injunctions 132
  • Appendix 154
  • Selected Bibliography 161
  • Index 165
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