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Ramzy, I. (1963). The Plurality of Determinants in Psycho-Analysis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 44:444-453.

(1963). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 44:444-453

The Plurality of Determinants in Psycho-Analysis

Ishak Ramzy

Ever since Freud started to announce his findings concerning the human mind, almost nothing of his views has been left uncontested. When he asserted the importance of the unconscious, he was criticized for his neglect of the conscious; when he emphasized the role of sexuality, he was accused of having reduced everything to pleasure and eroticism. If he talked instinct, he was asked what about environment; when he talked biology, he was asked about sociology; and when he underlined childhood traumata and neurosis, he was asked what about the stress of life in adulthood, physical, emotional, and economic.

This was the main line of argument used against psycho-analysis, not only by its critics and adversaries, but often also by some of its own followers. The old arguments have not stopped. Still psycho-analysis is accused of being a narrow outlook which does not take into consideration much of that which enters into the fabric of human beings. Strangely enough, most of the contemporary attacks against psycho-analysis are being hurled by its own people. However, it is often the case that the newer attempts, like the older ones, are mainly sustained by the wilful or inadvertent neglect to recognize one or the other of the few fundamental postulates of this discipline.

Probably no one is to blame for the old controversies or the new more than Freud himself. Beyond the historical and human factors which may have led to the controversies and the disputes, and beyond Freud's aversion to answering criticisms, the motives of which he knew only too well, he adopted toward the other disciplines overlapping psycho-analysis a haughty attitude of lofty indifference, which was mimicked by some of his followers as defensive avoidance.

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