The '''Name of the Father''' ([[French language|French]] ''Nom du père'') , or the '''names of the father''' is the [[signifier]] associated with the [[signified]] [[concept]] of the [[father]]. The name of the Father is a [[symbolic]] formation.
French theorist and psychoanalyst [[Jacques Lacan]] revised the Oedipus complex in line with his [[structuralism|structuralist]] attempt to combine psychoanalysis and [[linguistics]]. Lacan claimed that the position of the father could never be held by the infant. On the one hand the infant must identify with the father, in order to participate in [[ sexual relations]] . However the infant could also never ''become'' the father as this would imply sexual relations with the mother. Through the dictates on the one hand to be the father and on the other not to, the father is elevated to an [[ ideal]] . He is no longer a real material father, but a [[ role|function]] of a father. Lacan terms this the [[ Name of the Father]]. The same goes for the mother — Lacan no longer talks of a real mother, but simply of [[desire (Lacanian) |desire]], which is a desire to return to the undifferentiated state of ''being'' together with the mother, before the interference through the Name-of -the -Father.
This desire necessarily lacks something, i.e. it is a desire of lack. The father and accordingly the phallus (not a ''real'' penis, but a representation of [[master]]y) can never be reached, thus he is above or outside the language system and cannot be spoken about. All language relies on this absence of the phallus from the system of [[signification]]. According to this theory, without a phallus ''outside'' of language, nothing ''in'' language would make sense or could be differentiated. Thus Lacan remodels the linguistic theory of Swiss linguist [[Ferdinand de Saussure]]. It is this idea that forms the basis of much contemporary thought, especially [[poststructuralism]]. Nothing can be thought that is ''outside'' of language, but the phallus ''is'' there and therefore structures the whole system of thought accordingly. Oedipus could also be thought of the theme of the story.
==Freud vs Lacan== <!--- versus?, for what versus? --->
In ''[[Totem and Taboo]]'', [[Sigmund Freud]] uses a theory of the history, based on Darwin's [[theory of evolution]], in which there was first a terrible father that the brothers had to kill. Feeling guilty about it, the brothers began to pay homage to the father and founded [[monotheism]].
In Lacan's theory, the learning of [[language]] leads the child to kill his father as a [[symbol]]. Lacan does not use any historical theory.
This concept allows a new understanding of [[neurosis]].
Nevertheless, [[Jacques Lacan]] developed this concept with the ultimately unsuccessful aim of curing psychosis.