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Whitebook, J. (2004). Hans Loewald: A radical conservative. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 85(1):97-115.

(2004). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 85(1):97-115

Hans Loewald: A radical conservative Related Papers

Joel Whitebook

Hans Loewald's work was relatively marginalized in its day and it is little known outside the United States. It is, however, assuming increasing importance in American psychoanalysis. Loewald's attractiveness as a theoretician is due, in no small part, to his rigor and synthetic reach. He is able to accomplish the difficult feat of remaining non-sectarian and systematic at the same time. Indeed, Loewald's work contains an integrative vision that is unusual in today's fragmented psychoanalytic world. This author tries to show how Loewald attempts to reconcile many of the rigid oppositions that often become reified in analytic controversies: structural theory versus relational psychoanalysis, traditionalism versus revisionism, oedipal versus pre-oedipal, modernist versus postmodernist and hermeneutical versus scientific. The article examines how Eros, understood in terms of the psyche's synthetic strivings, plays a major role in Loewald's theory. The author also situates Loewald's position within contemporary psychoanalytic discussions of epistemology. These discussions tend to criticize the objectivism of modern science—and analysis in so far as it models itself on science—and stress countertransference and the subjectivity of the analyst. Loewald's argument, however, runs in the opposite direction. Because of his concern with the autonomy and individuality of the patient, he is concerned with the clinical dangers rising from an overemphasis on the subjectivity of the analyst.

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