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The Biological Conception of Insanity

  • John Turner

I often hear it said that pathological anatomy has proved a failure in the attempt to solve the problems of insanity.

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(1) One of the most brilliant of Freud's disciples in England tells me that this idea is not and never was held by Freud. Nevertheless, in a brief notice of a work by Freud on “Paranoia” in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology (vol. vii, April-May, 1912), my informant writes, expressing, I take it, Freud's views: “in the passage of the normal child from autoerotism to object-love, there is a stage in which, when the auto-erotic impulses are being grouped into a unity so as to seek an external object, the first object utilised is the individual himself, a condition known as ‘Narcissism.’ The passage from this to normal hetero-sexuality leads over homo-sexuality. In dementia praecox Jung and Abraham have shown that what happens is a return to primitive auto-erotic activities. In paranoia, the arrest of development takes place at a later stage, so that the return is to a life of phantasy concerning narcissism and homo-sexuality.” It seems to me that most people would interpret these sentences in the way I have in my text.

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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 2514-9946
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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The Biological Conception of Insanity

  • John Turner
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