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Zepf, S. (2006). The Concept of Psychical Reality Reconsidered. Canadian J. Psychoanal., 14(2):199-213.

(2006). Canadian Journal of Psychoanalysis, 14(2):199-213

The Concept of Psychical Reality Reconsidered

Siegfried Zepf

The author considers to what extent the present-day understanding of psychical reality is still identical with Freud's conceptualization and how far the concept is currently used in a single consistent sense. He shows that the term is applied in the contemporary literature to a wide variety of entities—for instance, substitutive formations, subjective experience as influenced by unconscious processes, the individual's initial psychic organization, or fantasy manifestations. Freud, however, used the term to denote unconscious psychic contents in two different ways, in relation, first, to their real existence and, second, to the characteristic of unconscious ideas of having a “reality value” in that they refer to real events, whether or not real events are reflected in them. The author argues that Freud's concept should be retained and not be watered down.

L'auteur réfléchit sur la conception actuelle de la réalité psychique par rapport à celle de Freud et s'interroge sur la cohérence et l'uniformité de l'interprétation de ce concept dans son usage courant. Il montre que ce terme est utilisé dans la littérature contemporaine pour désigner un large éventail d'objets, notamment les formations substitutives, l'expérience subjective, telle qu'elle est influencée par les processus inconscients, l'organisation psychique initiale d'un individu ou les manifestations fantasmatiques. Pourtant, Freud s'est servi de ce terme pour désigner deux aspects du contenu psychique inconscient, le premier étant leur existence réelle, et le second la « valeur réelle » des idées inconscientes, dans la mesure où elles sont liées à des événements réels, même si elles ne les reflètent pas tout à fait. L'auteur plaide en faveur du maintien du concept dans sa double acception freudienne, et contre sa dilution dans un usage polysémique.

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