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Lear, J. (2015). The Fundamental Rule and Fundamental Value of Psychoanalysis. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 63(3):511-527.

(2015). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 63(3):511-527

Plenary Address

The Fundamental Rule and Fundamental Value of Psychoanalysis

Jonathan Lear

Antiphon the orator lived in the second half of the fifth century B.C. He is known for having played a crucial role in overthrowing Athenian democracy, in the oligarchical coup of 411 B.C. When democracy was restored, Antiphon was tried for treason and condemned to death. Less well known is that Antiphon had a life before he took up politics. He was a budding psychoanalyst. As Pseudo-Plutarch (3rd-4th century A.D.) tells us in the Lives of Ten Orators,

While Antiphon was still occupying himself with poetry he invented a method for curing mental distress, no different in its way from being treated for a physical ailment by a doctor; he built himself premises near the agora in Corinth and posted an advertisement to the effect that he had found a talking cure for distress. And by delving into the reasons for their distress he used to bring his patients relief. But he considered this profession beneath his dignity and turned to oratory instead [833c-d].


[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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