On Kettle Logic and the Retraction of the Law: A Psychoanalytic Perspective on Psychopathy
Psychopathy as a concept has always been subjected to reductionist thinking, causing it to be heavily contested within psychiatry and psychoanalysis. On the basis of research involving prisoners and the insights of the Belgian psychiatrist-psychoanalyst Léon Cassiers, the author describes recurring patterns in the relation of the psychopath towards the Other and towards language. Fundamental to psychopathy is the defence mechanism of the Retraction of the Law in which an initial Bejahung is followed by a retraction. The aim of this retraction is to escape the lack and the division by the signifier. A case study of an impostor is used to illustrate the theory.