The concept of energy in psychoanalytic theory

Inquiry 14 (1-4):138-147 (1971)
Freud's early attempts to account for repression and for the occurrence of neurotic symptoms in terms of detachable and displaceable quantities of affect?charge (cathexis) has continued to be a basic aspect of psychoanalytic theory. This is unfortunate since the account is inadequate and its central concept, that of a quantity of energy, is unsuited to the task at hand. We see that, despite the appropriateness of describing neurotic behavior in dynamic/economic terms, the use of energy concepts on the theoretical level is an explanatory dead?end
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DOI 10.1080/00201747108601644
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Colin McGinn & Gareth Evans (1988). Collected Papers. Philosophical Review 97 (2):278-281.

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