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To start PEP-Easy without first opening your browser–just as you would start a mobile app, you can save a shortcut to your home screen.

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For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Harkavy, E.E. (1960). Conceptual and Methodological Problems in Psychoanalysis: By Leopold Bellak, M.D.; Mortimer Ostow, M.D.; E. Pumpian-Mindlin, M.D.; Alfred H. Stanton, M.D.; Thomas S. Szasz, M.D. New York: The Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 76, Article 4, pp. 971-1134 (164 pp.), 1959.. Psychoanal Q., 29:400-401.

(1960). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 29:400-401

Conceptual and Methodological Problems in Psychoanalysis: By Leopold Bellak, M.D.; Mortimer Ostow, M.D.; E. Pumpian-Mindlin, M.D.; Alfred H. Stanton, M.D.; Thomas S. Szasz, M.D. New York: The Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 76, Article 4, pp. 971-1134 (164 pp.), 1959.

Review by:
Edward E. Harkavy

This little monograph with a big title demonstrates again that it is good for psychoanalysts to discuss their theories—to extend their daily work at the couch. The protagonists are so evenly matched that it is easy to spot the essential difference between them. That difference is the same now as it was when Freud was alive: the willingness to be as rigorously consistent and systematic with their own contributions as they are being toward Freud's.

The first paper by Thomas Szasz on the libido theory exemplifies this most clearly. The discussant of Szasz's paper, Nevitt Sanford, is almost vulgarly sensible and irrefutable as he disposes of Szasz's objections to Freud's libido theory. But Sanford missed the main flaw: Szasz criticizes several of Freud's familiar concepts as if Freud had presented them as observational data. Yet Szasz, who follows Melanie Klein and Fairbairn, heedlessly uses their basic constructs as if they were data of observation; thus he has a built-in self-verifying technique in his system which like Marxism, paranoia, and African tribal customs is indisputable.

In the second paper on object choices, Stanton concludes that a group of people is more than the sum of its individuals, that there is an interpersonal something which adds to and transcends individual considerations. Sanford, again the discussant, accepts this as a truism. He then poises against each other these two latest schools of psychoanalytic revisionism: Stanton's social science methodology and Szasz's stimulus-response simplification. Sanford is brilliant here, but one is not fully aware of his depth and soundness until page 1095, when he tangles with Bellak (himself a good metaphysician) on another issue entirely. There Sanford comes up with the crucial comment about Stanton's contribution, which the earlier discussion had not yet reached in level and therefore did not deserve. The import of his remarks is that a greater degree of true-or-false decidedness is being demanded of Freud than was ever asked of any of the physical scientists.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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