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W., H. (1947). Ruminations of a Scientific Secretary: Adrian Stephen. Int. J. Psa., XXVI, 1945, pp. 52–55.. Psychoanal Q., 16:430-430.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Ruminations of a Scientific Secretary: Adrian Stephen. Int. J. Psa., XXVI, 1945, pp. 52–55.

(1947). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 16:430-430

Ruminations of a Scientific Secretary: Adrian Stephen. Int. J. Psa., XXVI, 1945, pp. 52–55.

H. W.

In this short communication, Stephen makes a plea for more efficient collection of clinical research data by the assignment of particular types of illness (in a clinic) to physicians who are working on a specific problem to the understanding of which the study of certain illnesses would contribute. As a further aid to concentration on particular questions, he suggests the formation of small discussion groups of people specializing in certain lines of thought.

Furthermore, he says, 'equally important is the construction of a conceptual system which will serve to bring order into our observations'. Towards this end he asks for a greater use of nontechnical terms and 'a systematic attempt to examine the whole body of our technical words and concepts and the various usages of our words by the help of suitable examples, just as, if we were trying to convey to a child the nature of the concept "motor car" or the usage of these words we should do well to point to examples rather than to offer a verbal definition'. Stephen believes that by such a clarification major differences between analysts might be resolved and at the same time 'it might turn out that some of our words were meaningless and some of our concepts redundant'. He anticipates criticism of such a questioning attitude towards Freud's words and concepts by pointing out that Freud himself relinquished his ideas without hesitation when he found others which fit the facts more closely, and that we are scientists first and as scientists we must strive towards the truth by substituting new ideas for the old when we see that they approach the truth more closely, no matter who first thought of the old ones.

Again in this endeavor, as in the clarification of clinical data, Stephen believes that small discussion groups would accomplish more than could a large society meeting.

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Article Citation

W., H. (1947). Ruminations of a Scientific Secretary. Psychoanal. Q., 16:430-430

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