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Ethics of Psychoanalysis
The psychoanalytic concept of responsibility is complicated in psychoanalysis by the discovery that, in addition to his conscious plans, the subject also has unconscious intentions. Hence someone may well commit an act which he claims was unintentional, but which analysis reveals to be the expression of an unconscious desire.
Freud called these acts "parapraxes," or "bungled actions." They are "bungled" only from the point of view of the conscious intention, since they are successful in expressing an unconscious desire.
The act expresses completely an intention which is both conscious and unconscious, the conscious assumption of the unconscious death drive (on the other hand, a sudden impulsive suicide attempt is not a true act, but probably a passage to the act).
- Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book XI. The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, 1964. Trans. Alan Sheridan. London: Hogarth Press and Institute of Psycho-Analysis, 1977. p. 50
- Freud, Sigmund. The Psychopathology of Everyday Life. SE VI. 1901.
- Lacan, Jacques. Le Séminaire. Livre XV. L'acte psychanalytique, 1967-68. Unpublished.
- Lacan, Jacques. Télévision, Paris: Seuil, 1973. Television: A Challenge to the Psychoanalytic Establishment, ed. Joan Copjec, trans. Denis Hollier, Rosalind Krauss and Annette Michelson, New York: Norton, 1990]. p.66-7