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Eisler, M.J. (1922). Beyond the Pleasure Principle: By Sigm. Freud. M.D., LL.D. Translated by C.J.M. Hubback. (International Psycho-Analytical Press. 1922. Pp. 83. Price 6s.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 3:367-379.

(1922). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 3:367-379

Beyond the Pleasure Principle: By Sigm. Freud. M.D., LL.D. Translated by C.J.M. Hubback. (International Psycho-Analytical Press. 1922. Pp. 83. Price 6s.)

Review by:
Michael Josef Eisler

In a series of his later writings, originally planned under the title of 'Introduction to a Metapsychology', Freud proposed to himself the task of a systematic completion of psycho-analysis by 'an elucidation and deepening' of its theoretical premises. The great development of the psycho-analytical movement and the abundance of experimental material already secured were enough to warrant such an undertaking, but no doubt it also had its origin in the justifiable wish to place the work of a life-time in a permanent framework. Owing to the well-known classical method of the author, by which not more than one step forward is ever made from an assured basis of fact into general theory, it came about that while many problems had been advanced and elucidated to some degree others had merely been sketched in the barest outline. In both cases the awakened interest of the reader was led to expect a future continuation of the line of thought taken up. And in fact each new work, as it handled the great problem of the psychic mechanisms from different aspects, extended further or more exactly formulated what had been already stated, and also usually provided a new and hitherto unnoticed problem. This method of advancing a young science, established and derived as it is from the forces innate in the science itself, is satisfactory to all except those who are unwilling to take full account of the situation. Psycho-analysis is in the first instance an empirical science—so far as the description is suitable—approaching psychic phenomena in the first place impartially and letting the facts speak for themselves. Arrangement and structure of the material so afforded was subsequently demanded, when it proved that analytical experience could be employed methodically. What was recognised as conforming to rule bestowed form on the material presented, whereby it could be compared with similar phenomena, and be measured and tested by them again. Observation as such remained of the first importance; so long as the facts were not displaced, the point from which they were reviewed could be chosen according to theoretic considerations.


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