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Tip: To sort articles by sourceā€¦

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

After you perform a search, you can sort the articles by Source. This will rearrange the results of your search, displaying articles according to their appearance in journals and books. This feature is useful for tracing psychoanalytic concepts in a specific psychoanalytic tradition.

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

Glucksman, M.L. (2014). The Capacity for Ethical Conduct: On Psychic Experience and the Way We Relate to Others, by David P. Levine, Routledge, London and New York, 2013, 132 pp.. Psychodyn. Psych., 42(4):718-721.

(2014). Psychodynamic Psychiatry, 42(4):718-721

The Capacity for Ethical Conduct: On Psychic Experience and the Way We Relate to Others, by David P. Levine, Routledge, London and New York, 2013, 132 pp.

Review by:
Myron L. Glucksman, M.D.

The brevity of this book belies the magnitude of the subject it examines. The author attempts to explore ethical conduct in both individuals and organizations according to an object relations model of personality. Relying heavily on Winnicott's concept of the “true” and “false” self, he observes that in the course of development we internalize good objects from our parents and caregivers. A sufficient number and quality of internalized good objects facilitate the growth of a “true” self. These consist of values, ideals, self-knowledge, secure boundaries, and confidence in our interactions with others. The “true” self feels worthy of love, respect, and possesses an original vitality or “unique presence of being.” It does not need to comply with the needs of others or adapt to their expectations. On the other hand, the “false” self results from the internalization of bad objects, including guilt, shame, greed, and selfdenigration. As a result, the “false” self feels intrinsically unworthy and inadequate. As a result, it needs to comply and adapt to the needs and expectations of others in order to feel worthy.

The author proceeds to distinguish between “ethical” and “moral” conduct using an object relations paradigm. He defines ethical conduct as the capacity to reason, deliberate, contain impulses, tolerate anxiety, and not be rule-bound. According to him, ethical conduct comes from within and is associated with internalized good objects.

[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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