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Napolitano, F. (1990). Modular Theory of the Mind and Metapsychology. Rivista Psicoanal., 36(3):638-666.

(1990). Rivista di Psicoanalisi, 36(3):638-666

Modular Theory of the Mind and Metapsychology Language Translation

Francesco Napolitano

The works of Freud contain a complete theory on how the mind functions both normally and pathologically, although this theory was never outlined in a concise and systematic way. I had better make clear straightaway what I mean by “complete theory”. The mark of a complete theory in the strict sense is that it cannot be extended. If any proposition is made about the theory's subject matter, it either already contains that proposition or its negation. This means that the attempt to add a proposition to an already complete theory, that is, to try and extend the theory, gives rise to contradictions or superfluity. Closed theories of this kind belong to a limited sub-category of logical-mathematical theories.

On the other hand, psychoanalytic theory is open to possibilities of extension, as is more usually the case. Its completeness consists only in the fact that it contains a hierarchy of models to explain a wide range of aspects of mental functioning — from the classic mental functions (ideation, consciousness, memory, perception, attention…) to dreams, fantasies, motricity etc.

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