Experience and Structure. On the Construction of Psychoanalytical Knowledge
AbstractDeparting from the four propositions (“there is no theoretical psychoanalysis”; “there is no applied psychoanalysis”; “there is no theory of the unconscious”, “the analytical approach is not mathematical”), the text tackles the relationship between theory and praxis in psychoanalysis. It starts with the relationship between science and psychoanalysis in Freud and continues with Lacan’s return to Freud. Lacan actually has two perspectives on psychoanalytical theory. The first, the “theory of the structure of the subject”, is closer to Freud, whereas the second understands theory as a theory of psychoanalytical praxis or discourse. Lacan was the first analyst since Freud who elevated the problem of theory to its most difficult level, the level of concepts, and pointed out that the very preservation and restoration of psychoanalysis hinges upon the concepts of its experience. But the problem is that, for late Lacan, psychoanalysis is praxis, “praxis for well-being”, and that this stance has many consequences. One of them concerns the relationship between theory and praxis, which does not disappear completely, but is reelaborated. The concept of theory does not concern the “knowledge of the master”, but the knowledge of the structure. This still poses the questions “what is a good theoretician” and which desire or which symptom in a particular subject makes possible and sustains such an elaboration of knowledge.
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