Psychoanalysis: a symptomatic problem

In this article the author explores why psychoanalysts are often seen as troublesome people and why they give so much critique. Foucault stated that in modernity the epistèmè changed: ‘man’ came in the thinking frame and human sciences were born. In his opinion psychoanalysis has in this epistèmè the position of a counter-science. In this article the author shows how psychoanalysis is different from human sciences in two aspects. First, psychoanalysis has another subject theory. The subject is not seen as something that can be discovered and has authentic qualities, but is fundamentally desiring and divided. Second, the author explains the difference in the way knowledge is grasped in psychoanalysis and human sciences by using Lacans discourse theory. These different points of view, mark the position of psychoanalysis in the modern epistèmè. The author concludes by stating that this is why psychoanalysis is so problematic for others. As a discourse, she is a symptom that appears because human sciences fail to grasp subjectivity. This is why psychoanalysis is fundamentally intertwined with the other human sciences and will probably disappear one day.

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.

Gaze and responsibility in Akira Kurosawa’s Rashōmon

Akira Kurosawa’s movie Rashōmon (1950) is traditionally referred to as a clear illustration of the subjectivity of human perception and memory. However, the notion of the so-called Rashōmon effect reflects only a superficial reading of Kurosawa’s film. It is argued, both from a historical and from a psychoanalytic point of view, that the filmmaker’s interpretation of the medieval Japanese story addresses two important distinctions, far beyond the reach of traditional psychological research: 1, the distinction between perception and gaze, and 2, the distinction between guilt and responsibility. It is further argued that in addressing these two distinctions, Rashōmon, upon its release in 1950, confronted the world (and not just the regimes of the Japanese Empire and the Nazis) with its responsibility for the atrocities of World War II.

Interpretation as/of Fiction. Julia Kristeva’s point of view

In this article, the author examines the validity of an interpretation of literature based on psychoanalytical theory. In the first part, he considers the metaphor that compares the text to a woman and the woman to a text, and investigates the relationship between the (psychoanalytical) interpretation of desire, and the desire for interpretation itself. Is the place where a text longs for an interpretation not also the place where the interpreter yearns for his long lost object a? Moreover, is the text, like an accomplished femme fatale, not able to use this desire against us? The author argues that any reading of a text is influenced by this desire. This makes it impossible to master a text, just as it was impossible for Sigmund Freud and his literary pendant Sherlock Holmes, both outwitted by the women they believed they mastered. In the second part of the paper, the author gives an overview of the theoretical work of Julia Kristeva, who rejects too rigid an opposition between the word and the body, between the symbolic father and the pre-oedipal mother. This also implies that our bodily desire and our knowledge are inseparably linked. In the last part of the text, Kristeva’s theory is used to propose an alternative reading strategy, as a mixture of jouissance and savoir, a strategy that creates, rather than discovers, truth. Opposed to the idea of an absolute Truth, as much as resisting an absolute nihilism, reading is presented as an act that brings us “in process”. If every theory is an imaginary construction, a fiction, Kristeva shows us the importance of this fiction in giving the subject the chance to create a poetic language for his desire.