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February 1962

The Concept

Author Affiliations

Registrar in Psychiatry, Gartloch Hospital, Glasgow; present address: Broadgate Hospital, Beverley, Yorkshire, England.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1962;6(2):168-181. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1962.01710200060008

The Universal  Paul Federn13 observed that ancient philosophy often throws penetrating light on ego psychology: One may certainly trace connections as far back as Aristotle, whose 'Universals' have 2 particularly interesting properties.Of these, the first is to be found in the durability and resilience that the concept of the Universal has shown through more than 2 millenia, appearing again and again in different guises, and remaining thoroughly viable and fruitful in unexpected fields of service today.Thus, a Universal is said to be "That which our thought conceives to be common to several instances, which are thus considered to be of the same kind, as members of the same class. Universals in this sense can be apprehended only in thought, by means of ideas or concepts." According to another authority, the Universal is "A possibility of discrete being: according to Plato, an Idea: in psychology, a

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