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Brierley, M. (1962). Psychoanalysis and Moral Values: By Heinz Hartmann, M.D. (New York: International Universities Press, Inc. 1960. Pp. 121. $3.00.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 43:351-352.

(1962). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 43:351-352

Psychoanalysis and Moral Values: By Heinz Hartmann, M.D. (New York: International Universities Press, Inc. 1960. Pp. 121. $3.00.)

Review by:
Marjorie Brierley

This book is an expanded version of the fourth Freud Anniversary Lecture of the New York Psychoanalytic Institute, and was given at the New York Academy of Medicine in May, 1959. The title is a comprehensive one and, as the author says, 'covers a variety of partly heterogeneous subjects'. The work is packed with the results of concentrated thought on a number of different issues coming under this umbrella title, and a review cannot hope to detail all the useful points made. However, it is clear from the beginning that there is no doubt in the author's mind as to the most important contribution that psycho-analysis has made, or can make, to the sphere of moral values. This is the understanding of their psychological origins and interrelationships. Thus, he writes of psycho-analysis, 'As a general psychology, it has given us the first sound explanations of the ontogenesis of moral behaviour'. But this positive statement is followed by a warning. Psycho-analysis undoubtedly provides knowledge; it is too readily expected to provide guidance as well. How far and to what extent this latter expectation is justifiable is more open to question. There is a crucial difference between the objective study of values and the application of the results of such study to practical problems of behaviour. For instance, some 'uses' of psycho-analytic findings in relation to Weltanschauungen and systems of ethics may amount 'to a denial rather than a confirmation of psychoanalytic thinking'.

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