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McGuire, M.T. (1979). Stephen Pepper, World Hypotheses and the Structure of Metapsychology. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 6:217-230.

(1979). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 6:217-230

Stephen Pepper, World Hypotheses and the Structure of Metapsychology

Michael T. McGuire


This paper reviews the metaphysical ideas of Stephen Pepper with regard to their application to psychoanalysis, particularly metapsychology. Pepper, in effect, has argued that there are four basic metaphysical views of the world: formism, mechanism, contextualism and organicism. These views may be translated into cognitive perspectives, or, world hypotheses. A similar data base, viewed from each perspective, has different meanings. It is argued that psychoanalysts use these four perspectives, that much of the confusion surrounding metapsychological propositions can be explained when Pepper's ideas are used as a basis for organizing metapsychological propositions, and that the use of these cognitive perspectives has therapeutic import.

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