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Loevinger, J. (1973). Ego Development: Syllabus for a Course. Psychoanal. Contemp. Sci., 2(1):77-98.

(1973). Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Science, 2(1):77-98

3 Approaches to the Problem of Development

Ego Development: Syllabus for a Course

Jane Loevinger, Ph.D.

The purpose of this article is to present the outline of a seminar on ego development that I have been teaching for several years. Although the subject is old, the way of organizing it is probably new in the college curriculum. It is part of a new approach in developmental psychology which differs both from conventional child psychology and from the exegesis of a particular school of thought, such as psychoanalysis. The course is keyed to the graduate level, but advanced undergraduates are admitted and have done well. So little of what is taught in psychology courses is germane to this field that no particular courses are prerequisite; students from fields other than psychology are at no disadvantage. Few students in the course have previously read anything written by Freud, Piaget, or Sullivan.

To set the tone for a more abstract and conceptual approach than is usual in psychology and particularly in child psychology, students are urged to read Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1970) early in the term. The disanalogies between psychology and the more mathematically exact sciences, about which Kuhn mainly writes, are evident; nonetheless, most students grasp the point that science, including psychology, is a more conceptual and less exclusively empirical undertaking than they had previously been inclined to believe.

Beyond the Pleasure Principle

The first topic of the course might be called “beyond the pleasure principle,” although Freud's book of that name is not introduced until later.

[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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