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Tip: To review an author’s works published in PEP-Web…

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The Author Section is a useful way to review an author’s works published in PEP-Web. It is ordered alphabetically by the Author’s surname. After clicking the matching letter, search for the author’s full name.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Wolf, E.S. (1989). Psychoanalyse Und Neurobiologie. Zum Modell Der Autopoiese Als Regulations-Prinzip. (Psychoanalysis and Neurobiology. Toward a Model of Autopoiesis as a Principle of Regulation.): By Tobias H. Brocher and Claudia Sies. Stuttgart/Bad Canstatt: Frommann-Holzboog, 1986. 140 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 58:105-110.

(1989). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 58:105-110

Psychoanalyse Und Neurobiologie. Zum Modell Der Autopoiese Als Regulations-Prinzip. (Psychoanalysis and Neurobiology. Toward a Model of Autopoiesis as a Principle of Regulation.): By Tobias H. Brocher and Claudia Sies. Stuttgart/Bad Canstatt: Frommann-Holzboog, 1986. 140 pp.

Review by:
Ernest S. Wolf

"The harshest truths are heard and recognized at last, after the interests they have injured and the emotions they have roused have exhausted their fury," Freud wrote in 1910 when discussing the future prospects of psychoanalysis. It is no accident, of course, that the authors of this little book begin their preface with this quotation. For, indeed, they are issuing an impassioned call for all psychoanalysts to re-examine the theoretical and metatheoretical underpinnings of their science and practice in order to bring them into harmony with contemporary neurobiology. This aim—apparently so rational; who would object to such a reasonable demand?—is expected to arouse the highest resistance, for they also quote Max Planck: "A new scientific truth does not prevail by convincing its opponents but because these opponents gradually die out as a new generation, familiar with the new truths, grows up" (my translation).

What are the new truths Brocher and Sies offer? They call attention to the fundamental change in paradigms that in other sciences during the last twenty-five years has led to a correction of the concepts of "objective reality," but has met with great skepticism in psychoanalysis. Specifically, by applying the difficult concepts of the abstract-logical biologic theory of knowledge of H. Maturana and his collaborators, F. Varela and G. Uribe, to psychoanalysis, they hope to further the dialogue between psychoanalysis and neurobiology that was initiated over ninety years ago by Freud in his Project for a Scientific Psychology.

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