Lacan returns to this question in 1946, where the cause of madness becomes the very essence of all psychical causality. In the 1946 paper he reiterates his earlier view that a specifically psychical cause is needed to explain psychosis; however, he also questions the possibility of defining "psychical" in terms of a simple opposition to the concept of matter, and this leads him, in 1955, to dispense with the simplistic notion of "psychogenesis.".
Symbolic and Real
In the 1950s Lacan begins to address the very concept of causality itself, arguing that it is to be situated on the border between the symbolic and the real; it implies "a mediation between the chain of symbols and the real.".
Cause of Desire
Lacan also plays on the ambiguity of the term, since besides being "that which provokes an effect," a cause is also "that for which one fights, that which one defends."
- Lacan, Jacques. De la psychose paranoiaque dans ses rapports avec la personalité. Paris: Seuil, 1975.
- Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book III. The Psychoses, 1955-56. Trans. Russell Grigg. London: Routledge, 1993. p. 7
- Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book II. The Ego in Freud's Theory and in the Technique of Psychoanalysis, 1954-55. Trans. Sylvana Tomaselli. New York: Nortion; Cambridge: Cambridge Unviersity Press, 1988. p.192
- Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book II. The Ego in Freud's Theory and in the Technique of Psychoanalysis, 1954-55. Trans. Sylvana Tomaselli. New York: Nortion; Cambridge: Cambridge Unviersity Press, 1988. p. 192
- Lacan, Jacques. Écrits. Paris: Seuil, 1966. p. 855-77
- 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. 128