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F., J.C. (1938). The Self in Psychology: By A. H. B. Allen. (Psyche Monographs No. 5. Kegan Paul, London, 1935. Pp. 282. Price 10 s. 6 d.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 19:262.

(1938). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 19:262

The Self in Psychology: By A. H. B. Allen. (Psyche Monographs No. 5. Kegan Paul, London, 1935. Pp. 282. Price 10 s. 6 d.)

Review by:
J. C. F.

This is a book which, because of the difficult, elusive and highly controversial nature of its subject, will probably make but little appeal to the general reader of psychological literature, but which will prove very useful to the student concerned with the special problem with which the author deals. It is an elaborate and critical review of modern speculation, observation and experimentation dealing with, or bearing on, the nature of the Self. Psycho-Analysts will regret that more consideration is not given to the psycho-analytic concept of the ego which has emerged as a consequence of Freud's formulations in The Ego and the Id and of subsequent attempts to make these formulations more precise. On the other hand they may well profit from the author's survey of the experimentalists' endeavours to describe introspectively the nature of the self, as revealed in various processes of willing, feeling and cognizing. As a result of his review the author concludes that the evidence at present available is in favour of the theory that selfhood is present in all mental life, 'obscurely in the earlier, with clear consciousness in the later stages'. He is thus opposed to the alternative views (both of which can boast of eminent advocates), (1) that the self is at bottom almost an illusion and that mental life is little more than just a series of contents, and (2) that the self is something, 'the emergence of which is contingent and which appears more or less late in the history of mental development'.

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