Suggestion and transference

Both Freud and Lacan distance themselves from any use of suggestion in analysis. Nevertheless, Lacan remarks in “The Direction of the Treatment and the Principles of its Power” both that there is a connection between suggestion and transference and that Freud was aware of that connection; namely that transference is itself an analysis of suggestion. Lacan will argue that transference is itself an analysis of suggestion in a very specific sense, namely to the extent that there is a kind of suggestion that directly supports the symbolic work intrinsic to analysis. The confusion is cleared up when one properly connects the fundamental rule of psychoanalysis with its origin in Freud’s experiments with suggestion and with the efficacy of working with signifiers.

Genieten en genoten worden: een studie over genot aan deze en gene zijde van het lustprincipe

Genot is een van de kernconcepten binnen Lacans onderwijs. Dit artikel poogt iets van dit domein vast te grijpen, eerst vanuit filosofische hoek, vervolgens vanuit psychoanalytische hoek. Binnen het veld van de filosofie wordt het accent op Plato en Aristoteles gelegd. De eerste definieert genot als effect van wat iemand doet, de laatste als de manier waarop iemand iets doet. Beide filosofen koppelen genot aan het goede. Dit is waar het veld van de psychoanalyse een ander standpunt inneemt. Hoewel Freud aanvankelijk een heerschappij van het lustprincipe voorstelde, besluit hij dankzij het klinisch werk dat er een aan gene zijde van het lustprincipe moet bestaan. Lacan werkt deze piste verder uit via de fallische jouissance – wat begrepen wordt als seksueel genot en gereguleerd wordt door de fallische wet – en de Andere jouissance – een genot dat net als bij Aristoteles gekenmerkt wordt door de afwezigheid van het subject als subject. Deze laatste vaststelling wordt teruggevonden en beschreven in een klinisch vignet.

The Violence of Right: Rereading ‘Why War?’

In this contribution, the often neglected correspondence ‘Why War?’ (Freud, 1933b) is presented as the locus classicus of Freud’s account of ‘Right and Violence’. In the discussion with Freud, Einstein’s position appears in the light of Kant’s Toward Perpetual Peace. It is exemplary of the dominant liberal conception of international law as the ultimate means for world peace. This contribution problematizes the debate between Freud and Einstein by its confrontation with the legal philosophy of Hans Kelsen, who is renown as the ‘Einstein of Law’. It is argued that Freud subscribes to Einstein’s and Kelsen’s liberalism in order to radically criticize it. Based on his own conception of right as considered to be a temporary incantation of violence, Freud scrutinizes the liberal possibility of ‘peace through international law’.

Cartesian Meditations: unconscious, truth and subjectivity

In this contribution we will offer a reading of Freud’s ambiguous therapeutic “advice” to “say more than one knows”. Starting from some preliminary reflections on the issue of confession and Lacan’s theoretical distinction between enunciation/enunciated, we will propose three successive ideas with regard to the notions of unconscious, truth and subjectivity. Firstly, a connection will be established between unconscious enunciation and Austin’s couple of performative/constative utterances. Secondly, we will offer a psychoanalytic notion of “truth” through a brief comparison with the phenomenological procedures of epoché and reduction. Third and finally, we will end with some reflections on the psychoanalytic couple of knowledge and truth.

The plague: Freud, Lacan & the crisis of critique

During its long history, psychoanalytical theory has developed a criticism dealing with almost the entire domain of human culture and civilization. That theory lays bare the unconscious motives and structures which, on the conscious level, can have all kinds of pernicious effects. The weak point of that criticism, however, consists in its awareness that the unconscious motives and structures it brings to consciousness, after its critical analysis, will remain unconscious and repressed. In that sense, psychoanalytical theory performs a critique of criticism as such. Unmasking falsity and lies does not necessarily result in establishing truth.

This essay outlines the contours of such a psychoanalytical ‘critique of criticism as such’, as well as its implications for contemporary critical thought in general. The essay more precisely focuses on the right-wing cultural criticism, which makes use of criticism’s newly discovered ‘tragic condition’ in order to support a conservative ethical, cultural and political programme. This essay proposes a few points of reference replying to these tendencies in contemporary critical thought.