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Philosophical inquiry or theory supplementing the empirical science of psychology. Metapsychology deals with aspects of the mind that cannot be evaluated on the basis of objective or empirical evidence.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. (Psychology) the study of philosophical questions, such as the relation between mind and body, that go beyond the laws of experimental psychology
2. (Psychology) any attempt to state the general laws of psychology
3. (Psychology) another word for parapsychology
metapsychological adj
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˌmɛt ə saɪˈkɒl ə dʒi)

speculative thought dealing with concepts extending beyond the limits of psychology as an empirical science.
met`a•psy`cho•log′i•cal (-kəˈlɒdʒ ɪ kəl) adj.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. a speculation dealing systematically with concepts extending beyond the present limits of psychology as an empirical science.
2. a conception in psychoanalytic theory of mental processes involving causal relations, structural placement, and functional value. — metapsychological, adj.
See also: Psychology
-Ologies & -Isms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
6 Charles, Webel, "Introduction Toward a Philosophy and Metapsychology of Peace".
In his essay 'Notes on the Phantom: A Complement to Freud's Metapsychology', Abraham expands the focus of psychoanalysis beyond the individual's psyche.
"Mourning and Melancholia." On the History of the Psycho-Analytic Movement, Papers on Metapsychology and Other Works, Translated by James Strachey.
These were so much like the chemical-physical laws of nature I had just learned that I considered Freud's 'metapsychology', which was so logically consistent and self-contained, no less correct and true than those laws.
"Formulations on the Two Principles of Mental Functioning." In On Metapsychology: The Theory of Psychoanalysis, edited by Angela Richards, 29-44.
General Psychological Theory: Papers on Metapsychology. Ed.
Strachey (Ed.), The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud: On the history of the psycho-analytic movement, papers on metapsychology and other works (Vol.
"Mourning and Melancholia." On Metapsychology: The Theory of Psychoanalysis.
Deleuze calls it a "great poem." Georges Didi-Huberman calls it a "metapsychology." Schefer's claim that he has no qualifications to write on cinema may be less a confession than a proposition about the subjectivity of the spectator; the film spectator, he seems to suggest, is essentially "ordinary," an anonymous amateur, not only a nonexpert but a nonentity, not only without qualifications but (and here Schefer alludes to Robert Musil) "without qualities." Schefer repeatedly rehearses new definitions of the spectator as the undefined object of the film.
Since Freud died in 1939, there has been no gatekeeper to decide what new concept should be included within the fold of metapsychology; nor, when concepts evolve over time, what needs to be considered a valid development and what is "going too far." More than this, theory seems to be an addictive indulgence for psychoanalysts, and a new theory is an invitation to sharpen swords to fight for, or against, the novelty.