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Guillaumin, J. (1976). A Discussion of the Paper by Henry Edelheit on 'Complementarity as a Rule in Psychological Research'. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 57:31-36.

(1976). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 57:31-36

A Discussion of the Paper by Henry Edelheit on 'Complementarity as a Rule in Psychological Research'

Jean Guillaumin

I am thankful to Dr Edelheit (this issue) for the vigorous position he has taken up on a difficult and rather abstract question, namely what kind of links we have to set up between psychoanalysis and neurophysiology. Nowadays psychoanalysts so often feel guilty about the advances they have made in their own field and look with envy at the research patterns of other sciences! In such a matter we have until now perhaps not gone further than Freud. Edelheit is right in pointing out that the founder of psychoanalysis could probably never completely give up his secret early wish to create one unitary science of the human mind, including both a neurological description of brain functioning, and a psychological one of the findings resulting from a clinical approach. And it is true that some world-renowned scientists in physics, medicine and neurology (such as Oppenheimer, Bohr and Hughlings Jackson) have initiated an epistemologically better attitude, one which has led Dr Edelheit to his conclusions. I agree with him (in spite of the now old-fashioned and somewhat irrelevant word 'parallelism' he uses in his paper) in admitting that psychoanalytic psychology and neurophysiology are interconnected only by a 'complementarity' principle, which does not suppose any inclusion, intersection, reciprocity or injection (to speak as modern mathematicians do) of the terms and concepts of one language into the other. No doubt we must clearly renounce a synthetic or a syncretic 'psychophysiology' that would pretend to be both a very physiological and a very psychoanalytical psychology.

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