On the Constructive Role of Conflicting Emotions: The Case of Early Mother-Child Interaction and its Relevance for the Study of Social Behaviour

Roberta Patalano


In this paper I seek to define a first, preliminary basis for a dialogue between philosophy and psychoanalysis on the topic of emotional conflict. As I will argue, the interaction between mother and child in the latter’s first year of life represents a privileged vertex of observation on the positive effects that can be produced by coping with emotional ambivalence, both on the quality of the relationship and on the development of the child. Furthermore, tolerance for emotional conflict not only contributes to the development of the Self in the infant but it also favours the acquisition of prosocial attitudes, such as the capacity for concern, authenticity and creativity.


ambivalence; integration; authenticity; concern; morality

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13128/Phe_Mi-20123

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