On Mania or the Metonymical Derailment: a Reading of Binswangers Über Ideenflucht

This article reexamines Binswanger’s construction of the manic form of Being-in-the-world as formulated in his Über Ideenflucht (1933). On the one hand, we confront Binswanger’s phenomenological approach of the flight of ideas inspired by Heidegger’s thinking with the classic natural scientific approach of that time. We discuss the way in which both approaches differ radically from one another and we probe deeper into Binswanger’s criticism of Kraepelin, one of the most important representatives of the natural scientifically oriented psychiatry. On the other hand, we connect Binswanger’s analysis of the manic form of Being-in-the-world as a particular way in which the manic subject relates to language, other and time with some propositions from Lacan’s teaching on psychosis.

What is at Stake in Lacanian Theory

It is argued that what is at stake in psychoanalytic theory, is first of all psychoanalytic practice, i.e. the endeavour to guide the psychoanalyst in bringing his conception of his experience above the level of common sense knowledge. Secondly, psychoanalytic theory must be constructed in such a way that it holds out from a scientific point of view. More specifically, Lacanian theory is a theory on the subject, on desire and on jouissance and must be situated in the intersection of cognitivism (the symbolic) and ethology (the imaginary), while it introduces a third dimension, that of the jouissance (the real). Furthermore, it is argued that psychoanalysis discovered that in the human animal language has emancipated itself from its operational function in that it parasitizes and transforms animal jouissance.

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