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Atkin, S. (1971). The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, Volume XXIV: New York: International Universities Press, Inc., 1969. 531 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 40:678-680.

(1971). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 40:678-680

The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, Volume XXIV: New York: International Universities Press, Inc., 1969. 531 pp.

Review by:
Samuel Atkin

This volume goes beyond an anthology of valuable psychoanalytic essays in the theoretical, clinical, and applied aspects of psychoanalysis. Its editors succeed in presenting an overview of psychoanalysis as a developing science. One is happy to note that if it is not burgeoning, it is at least very much alive. The elaboration, deepening, and synthesis of the concepts of early development are the most prominent themes. This accords with the currently ebullient activity in psychoanalytic research in child development. Since this psychoanalytic research commonly joins the disciplines of both psychology and sociology, the re-examination of the scientific methodology of psychoanalysis has now become a practical necessity.

William I. Grossman and Bennett Simon's Anthropomorphism: Motive, Meaning, and Causality in Psychoanalytic Theory is a brilliant epistemological essay. It should serve to bolster the fainthearted who cower at the unfavorable comparisons sometimes made between psychoanalysis as a science and the natural sciences. The authors posit that psychoanalysis is inevitably and necessarily an anthropomorphic science, able to deal more with meaning than with causality. At present, psychoanalysis is in need of superordinate concepts to build a proper general psychology, since heretofore it has dealt with biological, sociological, and historical matters only through 'isomorphism'. The authors may be shortchanging the possibility of extending psychoanalysis into a psychoanalytic social psychology. Freud's group psychology based on the individual psychology of identification does explain a social institution at the interfaces of the individual psyche and the group process. This major breakthrough into sociology has already been recognized by sociologists.

Another example of psychological process at the interfaces, in this case expanding language theory, particularly the comprehension of the 'emotive' component of language, will be found in Phyllis Greenacre's speculation on the role of speech in early development in her article, The Fetish and the Transitional Object.

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