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Jaffe, D.S. (1982). Aggression: Instinct, Drive, Behavior. Psychoanal. Inq., 2(1):77-94.

(1982). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 2(1):77-94

Aggression: Instinct, Drive, Behavior

Daniel S. Jaffe, M.D.

That a satisfactory theory of aggression still eludes scientists in the field of animal and human behavior is evident from the frequently polemical tones encountered in the ever-growing literature of the various disciplines. There is no consensus on whether aggression is innate or learned, appetitive or instrumental, or what its role and moving force may be in developmental sequences in man. In my discussion of some familiar issues and my attempt to present some synthesizing viewpoints regarding aggression, the role of classes of instinct in psychoanalytic theory and the place to be assigned to aggression constitute my primary focus. I reconsider (1) some aspects of Freud's early and later formulations of instinct; (2) a basis for revising the classification of instincts, including some further distinctions between instincts and drives; and (3) a new approach to the place of aggression in this reformulation of instincts.

Instincts and Drives

The problems connected with any attempt to translate the word Trieb, which Freud used to refer to instincts, have been discussed by Strachey (1966) who stated that his choice of the term instinct was based on its very vagueness. He viewed this as an advantage because the term would be flexible enough to encompass many meanings.

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