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Hoffman, M. (1962). On the Relationship Between Psychoanalysis and the Philosophy of Mind. Psychoanal Q., 31:62-72.

(1962). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 31:62-72

On the Relationship Between Psychoanalysis and the Philosophy of Mind

Martin Hoffman, M.D.


The intention of this project is to furnish us with a psychology which shall be a natural science: its aim, that is, is to represent psychical processes as quantitatively determined states of specifiable material particles and so to make them plain and void of contradictions (7).

Most theoreticians of psychoanalysis are in substantial agreement that 'mental phenomena' form the subject matter of their science. In fact, while 'mental' can be interpreted in more than one way (22), psychoanalytic writers on the subject would further explicate their point of view by identifying 'introspection and empathy' as their fundamental investigative tools.

Kohut has recently written a very thoughtful analysis of psychoanalytic theorizing within this frame of reference, in which he states: 'We designate phenomena as mental, psychic, or psychological if our mode of observation includes introspection and empathy as an essential constituent. The term "essential" in this context expresses (a) the fact that introspection or empathy can never be absent from psychological observation, and (b) that it may be present alone' (12p. 462).


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