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Brown, L.J. (2013). Bion at a Threshold: Discussion of Papers by Britton, Cassorla, Ferro and Foresti, and Zimmer. Psychoanal Q., 82(2):413-433.

(2013). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 82(2):413-433

Bion at a Threshold: Discussion of Papers by Britton, Cassorla, Ferro and Foresti, and Zimmer

Lawrence J. Brown

In his classic The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), Thomas Kuhn contrasted what he called normal science, which is “the steady extension of the scope and precision of scientific knowledge,” with the sudden emergence of “new and unsuspected phenomena” (p. 52) that bring about a paradigm change in how we think about a particular subject. Such challenges to the status quo begin with a scientist's awareness of an anomaly that does not fit with the accepted knowledge of a field's normal science, and so prompts the discoverer's curiosity to investigate further. Revolutions by their nature typically stir upheavals that require more than an adjustment to extant theory, and instead give rise to a new model that in turn becomes the new normal science.

An analogue in psychoanalysis was Klein's (1928) realization that a powerful superego was clearly observable in preoedipal children, which was anomalous with existing analytic views that the superego was not formed until the close of the oedipal period. This discovery caused a furor in analytic circles and was a central point of contention of the Controversial Discussions (King and Steiner 1991).

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