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Jacobs, T.J. (1998). Epistemology: Chaired by María Isabel Siquier. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 79:1213-1216.

(1998). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 79:1213-1216

Epistemology: Chaired by María Isabel Siquier

Theodore J. Jacobs

Ms Siquier opened the panel by noting the importance of the topic to be discussed. Today, she said, there is a growing interest in questions of epistemology and in interdisciplinary studies so that the present panel is quite relevant to current concerns in our field.

Dr Patricia Kitcher then presented her paper, ‘A defence of Freud's metapsychology’. Her effort in this paper, she stated, was to save at least some of Freud from the Freudians, and to defend metapsychology against analysts who view it as irrelevant and unnecessary. In addition, she sought to defend metapsychology ‘against epistemologists who regard it as unsound, as unempirical’.

Emphasising the fact that for Freud, metapsychology was a research ideal and that he believed that a comprehensive understanding of mental phenomena required describing a psychological process in ‘its dynamic, topographical and economic aspects’ (Freud, 1915, p. 181), Dr Kitcher divided her defence into three sections, corresponding to the three aspects of metapsychology.

Freud's basic aim in creating psychoanalysis, Kitcher pointed out, was to explain behaviour produced by unconscious motivation. He extended the range of ordinary psychological explanation, she added, ‘by extending the range of desires and beliefs that could rationalise the actions they caused’. In addition, he altered psychological explanation by proposing that the factors that make actions intelligible were themselves produced or transformed by previously unrecognised forces that acted upon them.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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