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Piers, G. (1964). The Structure of Psychoanalytic Theory: A Systematizing Attempt: By David Rapaport. Psychological Issues, Vol. II, No. 2; Monograph 6. (New York: Int. Univ. Press, 1960. Pp. 158. $3.00.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 45:123-126.

(1964). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 45:123-126

The Structure of Psychoanalytic Theory: A Systematizing Attempt: By David Rapaport. Psychological Issues, Vol. II, No. 2; Monograph 6. (New York: Int. Univ. Press, 1960. Pp. 158. $3.00.)

Review by:
Gerhart Piers

This monograph, together with Emotions and Memory (1950), Organization and Pathology of Thought (1951), and a paper with M. M. Gill (Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 1959) represents the fourth and last attempt to write psycho-analytic theory into a comprehensive and coherent organon by a man whose sudden and untimely death psycho-analysis has since come to mourn.

Rapaport clearly states that this essay constitutes a premature attempt at systematization. Originally written for a project of the American Psychological Association to present something like a compendium of all current psychological 'systems', its publication was forced on him by editorial and friendly pressure. It bears the marks of the original purpose: in Rapaport's own words, he had to 'enter frames of reference somewhat alien to my own thinking', in order to facilitate 'comparative study', i.e. with other theories. This 'alien' purpose is at least partly responsible for the tendency to formulate psycho-analytic theory in such a way that its similarities and dissimilarities to other psychologies can be more easily checked. How well he has succeeded in this will have to be stated by non-analytic investigators and theorists. It certainly represents a most important effort to build a bridge between psycho-analytic metapsychology on the one side, and experimental and learning psychology on the opposite bank, a bridge meant to facilitate traffic in either direction. Nothing quite like it has been attempted from the analytic side since H.

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