Language and Psychoanalysis

  • Donald Meltzer
Part of the Cognition and Language: A Series in Psycholinguistics book series (CALS)


In this paper I should like to set out clearly the problems present in three areas—linguistics, dream structure, and autistic mutism—and, by tracing the implications of their interaction, throw some light on all three. The problem of linguistics, or psycholinguistics as it is now called, which concern us are of two sorts, at two ends of a methodological spectrum. At one end is the mind-body problem dogging the footsteps of behaviorist psychologists like Skinner and mathematical linguists like Chomsky and Katz. At the other end is the problem of cosmic mysticism, the expression of which, in the spirit of Jung or Ouspensky, is the Whorf-Sapir theory of the relativity of language. I will discuss these in order to define the position of psychoanalysis, methodologically, and also to stress those mysterious aspects of grammar and semantics which link with our other two areas, dreams and autism.


Symbolic Form Empty Container External Reality Internal Object Dextrous Manipulation 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald Meltzer
    • 1
  1. 1.London and OxfordUK

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