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Reed, G.S. Baudry, F. (1997). The Logic Of Controversy: Susan Isaacs And Anna Freud On F(Ph)Antasy. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 45:465-490.

(1997). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 45:465-490

The Logic Of Controversy: Susan Isaacs And Anna Freud On F(Ph)Antasy

Gail S. Reed and Francis Baudry

Controversy leaves its mark on the subsequent development of psychoanalytic concepts in the form of ambiguous language and faulty reasoning. Examination of the form of an historical controversy suggests that enduring inconsistencies and a less than comprehensive appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of the competing theories resulted from the emotional and political climate. The authors recommend that disputes over new theoretical proposals begin with (1) an identification of the clinical problems that are said to require the innovation and (2) an assessment of whether the identified problems actually require theoretical revision. The new model should then be examined (3) as to whether it is self-sufficient or depends on unrecognized aspects of the previous theory. In the latter case, (4) it is important, in order to avoid the emergence of a self-contradictory theoretical hybrid, to ascertain whether the new formulation contradicts the previous one on which it silently depends.

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