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Emde, R.N. (2000). Affect Dialogue (Vol. 1, No. 1, 1999): Commentary by Robert N. Emde. Neuropsychoanalysis, 2(1):69-74.

(2000). Neuropsychoanalysis, 2(1):69-74

Affect Dialogue (Vol. 1, No. 1, 1999): Commentary by Robert N. Emde

Robert N. Emde

I am pleased to respond to the invitation to offer additional commentary on the special section of the first volume of Neuro-Psychoanalysis, entitled “Emotions: Neuro-Psychoanalytic Dialogue.” This monographlength section contains a review of Freud's theory of affect, followed by a centerpiece written from the point of view of neuroscience by Jaak Panksepp, that is in turn followed by commentaries from a number of noted neuroscientists and psychoanalysts. I assume that what might be of interest at this time would be for me to add some thoughts on what has been less emphasized or left out in the dialogue. I will also give special consideration to the developmental dimension of experience, which as Clifford Yorke and the editors in their conclusion of the special section point out, was given relatively little voice. Let me begin with an endorsement that brings with it a pointed reflection. We can be grateful in such a dialogue for the scholarly effort to advance scientific knowledge involving empirical efforts that are cumulative and that bridge prospectives between the neurosciences and psychoanalysis. In terms of what we know about affect, however, it seems fair to ask: Is such an effort premature? We can answer either yes or no. In terms of integrating vast knowledge bases in each field that can be summarized by accepted theoretical formulations, it does seem premature. Most of the commentaries from both domains acknowledge this fact. In terms of stimulating research on the other hand, it is not premature.

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