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Filippini, S. (1990). M.N. Eagle. La psicoanalisi contemporanea. Laterza, Bari, 1988, 284 pages, Liras 25.000 (Recent Developments in Psychoanalysis. A Critical Evaluation. McGraw-Hill, New York, 1984).. Rivista Psicoanal., 36(2):496-504.

(1990). Rivista di Psicoanalisi, 36(2):496-504

M.N. Eagle. La psicoanalisi contemporanea. Laterza, Bari, 1988, 284 pages, Liras 25.000 (Recent Developments in Psychoanalysis. A Critical Evaluation. McGraw-Hill, New York, 1984). Language Translation

Review by:
Sandra Filippini

Morris Eagle's La psicoanalisi contemporanea, published in Italian by Laterza, is well worth reading: it depicts a rich panorama of the current psychoanalytic scene and of the internal debate that it is generating, especially in North America.

As confirmed, among others, by Wallerstein's introductory paper (1988) “One Psychoanalysis or Many?” (Int. J. Psycho-Anal. 69, 5-21) at the Montreal Congress, American psychoanalysis is developing a pluralism to which, given the longevity of its previous unity around the school of the ego psychology, it was not accustomed. Under the impetus created by new theoretic models as they regard, for example, the theory of object relations and the psychology of the self on the one hand, and the debate on epistemological foundations on the other, unity has been crumbling and American psychoanalysts, like their European counterparts, have had to reckon on a profusion of theories and models that are often at loggerheads with each other.

The book outlines certain problems that the presently pluralistic climate forces us to confront: what is the actual state of psychoanalytic theories? What causes divergence? Towards which epistemological options would it be best to gravitate?

The book is divided into four parts. In the first, the author takes as his starting point his own examination of the freudian theory of instincts, which he presents critically. He demonstrates its anachronisms, such as the concepts of excitement and discharge, and reveals their untenability in the light of new theories on development. He then lights on various instances of more recent psychoanalytic theorizing and categorises them on the basis of their reception — acceptance or refusal — of the theory of instincts.

[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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