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Tip: To sort articles by sourceā€¦

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After you perform a search, you can sort the articles by Source. This will rearrange the results of your search, displaying articles according to their appearance in journals and books. This feature is useful for tracing psychoanalytic concepts in a specific psychoanalytic tradition.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Hoffman, L. (1992). Chaos: Making a New Science: By James Gleick. New York: Viking, 1987 (Penguin, 1988), 354 pp., $22.95.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 40:880-885.

(1992). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 40:880-885

Chaos: Making a New Science: By James Gleick. New York: Viking, 1987 (Penguin, 1988), 354 pp., $22.95.

Review by:
Leon Hoffman, M.D.

Where chaos begins, classical science stops.

In recent years the place of psychoanalysis in modern science has been much debated. Critics have stressed the inability of the psychoanalytic method to validate its hypotheses using linear causal connections. This critique overlooks the nature of the psychoanalytic mode of understanding psychic processes. The complexity and circularity of mental conflicts cannot be conceptualized with linear explanations but rather with nonlinear concepts (Wurmser, 1989p. 228). Upon examination, the nonlinear conceptualization of psychoanalysis yields astonishing similarities to recent developments in physics for the study of systems, such as hydrodynamic turbulence, which possess a quality of "unpredictability" or "chaos." In such systems "precise knowledge of [its] past evolution … over an arbitrarily long time does not aid in predicting its subsequent evolution past a limited time range" (Bergé et al., 1984p. 103). A study of chaos theory will demonstrate that the methods of psychoanalysis are consonant with those of modern science.

In Chaos: Making a New Science, Gleick describes the historical development of chaos theory and the paradigm shift that allows order to be perceived behind seemingly random behavior. Gleick writes clearly and comprehensively, and provides an abundance of illustrations, end notes, and references.

Chaos theory has been applied to various fields as a result of a growing appreciation of the universal elements of motion, including conceptualizing the body as a place of motion and oscillation.

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