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Rubinstein, B.B. (1975). On the Clinical Psychoanalytic Theory and Its Role in the Inference and Confirmation of Particular Clinical Hypotheses. Psychoanal. Contemp. Sci., 4(1):3-57.

(1975). Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Science, 4(1):3-57

1 Clinical Theory

On the Clinical Psychoanalytic Theory and Its Role in the Inference and Confirmation of Particular Clinical Hypotheses

Benjamin B. Rubinstein, M.D.

The clinical psychoanalytic theory may be subdivided into a cognitive part and a part concerned primarily with psychoanalytic therapy. I will consider only the cognitive part. For the sake of brevity I will refer to it as the clinical theory of psychoanalysis (or the clinical psychoanalytic theory) in contradistinction to the theory of psychoanalytic therapy. What I mean by speaking about the cognitive part of the theory will become clear as we go along.

The subject matter with which we will be concerned is highly complex. The reader may at times feel bogged down in details and thus lose sight of the main line of the argument. I trust, however, that in the end the various pieces will fall into place. In any event, to simplify matters would be to distort them, to emphasize some aspects of the problem at the expense of others.

In the title of the paper I refer to the role of the clinical psychoanalytic theory in the inference and confirmation of particular clinical hypotheses. In the section following these introductory remarks I will in a general way discuss one aspect of this problem, which is an aspect of the problem of explanation and of the relationship between explanation and understanding. The central problem, however, I can approach in specific detail only after having taken note of some features of the data with which psychoanalysis deals, and of the kinds of events we feel require an explanation.

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