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Brunswick, D. (1960). Discussion of 'The Metapsychology of Pleasure'—Ii. the Physiological Viewpoint. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 41:372-374.

(1960). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 41:372-374

Discussion of 'The Metapsychology of Pleasure'—Ii. the Physiological Viewpoint

David Brunswick

I feel privileged in having this opportunity to discuss Dr de Saussure's very interesting paper. The subject of pleasure and pain lies in the forefront of my present theoretical interests; and I wish to regard them from the point of view of physiology, since I have a strong belief that the understanding of the physiological substrate can clarify and sharpen our purely psychological psycho-analytic theories, our metapsychology.

We all know that Freud started out with an attempt at formulating his theories in physiological or neurological terms in the 'Project for a Scientific Psychology', to which Dr de Saussure refers in the first part of his paper. We know, too, that Freud abandoned that attempt, and for that we are grateful. If he had not abandoned it, he and his followers might not have discovered the tremendous body of facts or formulated the almost purely psychological and largely valid theories which together constitute the science of psycho-analysis. At the time when Freud was making his great psycho-analytic discoveries, there was very little neurophysiology for him to make use of for his theories. However, six or seven decades and two generations have passed since then, and I like to believe that neurophysiological knowledge has been advancing to a point where application of it can clarify some of our psycho-analytic theories.

I must confess that I would not be able to discuss Dr de Saussure's paper as a whole, because of what I feel to be a lack of systemization in it (or is it in me?).

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