|Eidelberg, L. (1949). Fundamentals of Psychoanalysis: By Franz Alexander, M.D. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., Inc., 1948. 312 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 18:361-363.|
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(1949). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 18:361-363
Fundamentals of Psychoanalysis: By Franz Alexander, M.D. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., Inc., 1948. 312 pp.
The author begins his book with the discussion of the methodological problems of . He observes that ' is one of the functions of the biological system' and therefore psychology, in as much as it is based on a causal approach, is not only related to biology but represents a legitimate part of it, equal in its importance to anatomy, physiology, etc.
He defines and defends 'common sense' which in the 'normal person', he believes, promotes scientific understanding. is the chief instrument of common sense. Four errors grossly reduce its value: deliberate deception, self-deception, individual differences and 'blind spots'. One might add .
In his discussion of the theory of , he argues in favor of Freud's first theory and rejects his second. His criticism seems to be due to misunderstanding. The first theory '… was not an attempt to describe instinctual forces' and is therefore not more clinically valuable than the 'philosophical' second one. Freud always insisted that the concept of the is the result of speculation; that itself cannot be observed by psychological methods, and that the of is the derivative of . Both theories are schematic abstractions, a filing system for the collection of clinical data.
Freud did not regard the as directly responsible for ; he cited cancer as an illustration of its function. Because he regarded psychological phenomena as derivatives of fusions, he described the as 'silent' (Stumm). These and other misunderstandings are probably responsible for Alexander's statement: 'Freud … continued to distinguish between self-preservative and sexual ' (p. 62). In An Outline of , Freud writes: 'The contrast between the and of preservation of the species, as well as the contrast between ego love and love, falls within the bounds of Eros'.
1 Int. J. Psa., XXI, 1940, p. 31.
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