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(1983). Meeting of the New York Psychoanalytic Society. Psychoanal Q., 52:158-159.

(1983). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 52:158-159

Meeting of the New York Psychoanalytic Society


Dr. Rubinstein contrasted his concept of a person with that of an organism. Both are concepts related to the concept of a human being, with the distinction being made by an observer in one or the other of two ways. Two real worlds, neither reducible to the other, are created: our everyday human world and the world of natural science. Activities refer to persons, and processes to the corresponding organisms. A person can be aware only of his activities, not of the processes in the world of natural science. Thus, in part, thinking proceeds exclusively in the world of natural science. Furthermore, whereas every event in our everyday human world most likely corresponds to an event in the world of natural science, not all events in the world of natural science have their counterparts in our everyday human world. (This point is relevant to a theory of unconscious mental events.) One of the examples discussed was that of hallucinating, i.e., perceiving things that from an observer's point of view exist only in a private, imaginary world. It therefore has no reality outside the world of natural science, since the hallucinator is not aware of hallucinating. In psychoanalysis we deal with persons, not organisms—with the thoughts, feelings, perceptions, fantasies, memories, and actions occurring in our everyday human world. The metapsychological concepts however, including concepts of a mental apparatus, do not belong here. The world in which they may be real is not our everyday human world.

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