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Rapaport, D. (1951). Paul Schilder's Contribution to the Theory of Thought-Processes. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 32:291-301.

(1951). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 32:291-301

Paul Schilder's Contribution to the Theory of Thought-Processes

David Rapaport, Ph.D.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I feel awed and privileged to be here to give your Schilder Memorial Address—awed by the task of sketching Schilder's contribution to the theory of thinking, and privileged by the opportunity offered. Let me hasten to say that it is due to Dr. Lauretta Bender, and the chance by which she discovered that I am familiar with and have studied most of Schilder's writings, have become involved in them and, through them, in the man paul Schilder. I became acquainted with Schilder's writings in the course of my studies on the psychology of thought, over the last fifteen years. I am delighted to have the opportunity to talk about Paul Schilder. Let me tell you why by way of a story: there was once a king who was entertaining another one. And since he was the king who had originated the idea that a king should have a cabinet, he introduced his cabinet to his guest. The guest asked who was the most important member of the cabinet. The king pointed to one so far not introduced. 'And what is his portfolio?' asked the guest. 'Oh, he is the Minister without Portfolio'—and, seeing the bewilderment of his guest, he added—'He knows what the rest of them are doing, and tells me about it.' That is how I feel about Paul Schilder. Indeed there is hardly any area of psychiatric and psychological problems which Schilder did not recognize, tackle, and illuminate; scarcely a syndrome which he did not study, whether schizophrenia, mania, depression, aphasia, amentia, paresis, or Korsakoff; hardly a function which he did not explore, whether memory, perception, consciousness, motility, language; few indeed are the problems with which he did not deal, whether they pertain to the form varieties of conscious experience, psychosomatic relationships, neuro-psychological interrelations, epistemological foundations of our relation to reality, or the nature of man's socialization; and exceptional the psychiatric phenomenon or symptom which he did not describe, whether depersonalization, déjà vu, or body-image.

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