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Goldberg, S.H. (1989). Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XXII, 1986: The Psychological Field: Chance and Causality. Imre Hermann. Pp. 652-665.. Psychoanal Q., 58:332.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XXII, 1986: The Psychological Field: Chance and Causality. Imre Hermann. Pp. 652-665.

(1989). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 58:332

Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XXII, 1986: The Psychological Field: Chance and Causality. Imre Hermann. Pp. 652-665.

Steven H. Goldberg

In this chapter from his 1934 book, Hermann argues that psychoanalytic determinism applies not to a precise predictability of the future, but rather to a limited range of possibilities. This predictability concerns specifically psychological processes, which, by the author's definition, take place within a field of meaning. In fact, a range of possibilities is seen as an inherent characteristic of meaning. The author is concerned about the limits of psychic continuity, and to what extent these limits are defined by external events. Together with the notion of continuity of psychological events within a psychological field is the principle of the discontinuity of environmental—that is, non-intrapsychic—events. These latter events cannot be investigated by the psychoanalytic method of free association; they must be examined through the methods of natural science. The author proceeds to discuss psychoanalytic meaning as being synonymous with neither purposefulness nor determinism. Causes can be traced, but effects cannot be predicted. This is because of the highly individual nature of psychological phenomena and because of the large number of possible consequences of a psychological event.

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Article Citation

Goldberg, S.H. (1989). Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XXII, 1986. Psychoanal. Q., 58:332

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