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Modell, A.H. (1973). Information, Systems, and Psychoanalysis. An Evolutionary, Biological Approach to Psychoanalytic Theory. (Psychological Issues, Vol. VII, Nos. 1/2, Monographs 25/26.): By Emanuel Peterfreund in collaboration with Jacob T. Schwartz. New York: International Universities Press, Inc., 1971. 399 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 42:270-272.

(1973). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 42:270-272

Information, Systems, and Psychoanalysis. An Evolutionary, Biological Approach to Psychoanalytic Theory. (Psychological Issues, Vol. VII, Nos. 1/2, Monographs 25/26.): By Emanuel Peterfreund in collaboration with Jacob T. Schwartz. New York: International Universities Press, Inc., 1971. 399 pp.

Review by:
Arnold H. Modell

This is a provocative book that applies information theory to psychoanalytic thinking. However, acceptance of the author's contribution may be difficult because he assumes untenable and dogmatic positions regarding the relation between mind and brain.

Peterfreund has a noble vision of science as a set of universal ideas, a science in which psychoanalysis has its respected place. In this work his sharp criticisms of current psychoanalytic theory seem designed to bring psychoanalysis into closer congruence with the natural sciences. Peterfreund sees the concept of the psychic apparatus and of psychic energy as the greatest impediment to this ideal unified view of science. It would seem that Peterfreund agrees with the criticism leveled against the model of the psychic apparatus that has become familiar through the work of Robert Holt and the late George Klein. But this is only a superficial similarity, for Peterfreund departs radically from these other critics.

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