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(1957). Journal of the American Psycho-Analytic Association 4, 1956, No. 4: Robert Waelder. 'Freud and the History of Science.'. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 38:433.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Journal of the American Psycho-Analytic Association 4, 1956, No. 4: Robert Waelder. 'Freud and the History of Science.'

(1957). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 38:433

Journal of the American Psycho-Analytic Association 4, 1956, No. 4: Robert Waelder. 'Freud and the History of Science.'

The development of the scientific attitude led to a situation where enquiry into topics which were incapable of objective verification was considered 'unscientific'. Such subjects were the concern of religion, metaphysics, and the like. The cleavage between the humanities and science was further accentuated by the tendency to differentiate between the so-called 'higher' and 'lower' manifestations of human life. By destroying the artificial divisions which existed between each and every aspect of thought and behaviour Freud bridged the gap between the humanities and science. Freud combined a powerful imagination with an equally exacting scientific conscience. The former enabled him to be free in his thinking and the latter demanded a test of theory in the process of his analytical work.

Little has been added to psycho-analysis since Freud. Waelder suggests that there are valid reasons to account for this relative stagnation of post-Freud psycho-analysis. The long period of training, the small number of cases which any psycho-analyst treats, the difficulty of pooling clinical experience, and the obstacles which impede the dissemination of this material are only several of the factors involved. A comparison is made with the abrupt ending of Greek mathematics about 200 B.C. In this case breakdown of the oral tradition and the absence of a symbolic notation are regarded as two of the basic causes. In a similar way psycho-analysis is dependent on personal contact and the oral tradition. The development of psycho-analysis might be greatly accelerated if there was developed a language or a system of concepts which would make it possible to describe personality structure with a high degree of specificity so that it could be correctly and quickly understood by all.

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Article Citation

(1957). Journal of the American Psycho-Analytic Association 4, 1956, No. 4. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 38:433

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