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Aaltonen, J. Räkköläinen, V. (1987). The Paradox and the Dissolution of the Oedipus Complex. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 10(2):117-132.

(1987). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 10(2):117-132

The Paradox and the Dissolution of the Oedipus Complex

Jukka Aaltonen, M.D. and Viljo Räkköläinen, M.D.

The aim of our paper is to discuss: how to understand (1) why does Freud (1924) speak of the dissolution [Untergang] or destruction [Zerstörung] and not the resolution of the Oedipus complex; and (2) the role of Winnicott's transitional phnenomena and “the paradox to be accepted and tolerated and respected and not to be resolved” (Winnicott 1971, p. XII) in the dissolution or destruction of the Oedipus complex.

On their part, these seemingly disconnected fragments of psychoanalytic theory have lea us to think that the dissolution – or rather the destruction – of the Oedipus complex is partly based on the psychological fate and acceptance of a special kind of intrapsychic, transitional, and transactional paradox this paradox bears, by both its self-reflective form and how it is experienced by the child and in the analytic setting, an important resemblance to the classic philosophical problem presented, e.g., by Whitehead and Russell (1910), by which a class of things is of different level from the members of the class. The classical case is the Epimenides paradox: Epimenide the Cretan said that all Cretans are liars; so if he is telling the truth, he is lying and vice versa; another, derived from the former paradox, has a form “Ignore this sign!” This paradox can occur because a negative statement classifying another negative statement occurs in a single message so that the class and its member are self-reflective and the discontinuit between the two classes is breached.

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