Talk:Seminar III

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ow is it possible to understand psychosis and distinguish it from neurosi;.z] ~y means of the foreclosure of a fundamental signifier, the Name-of-the- . Fath~\!his term, which Lacan had been looking for since 1954 (27) in order. to translate Freud's Venverfung (repudiation) and which will be used beyond. the Lacanian circles, appeared for the first time at the very end of this seminar ,. that reexamines the questions raised in 1932 J.:). By psychosis Lacan means, paranoia. So, what about paranoia? By paranoia Lacan means the case of _ Schreber, a case that is exemplary enough to offer the key to human be- • coming. Paradoxically, it is on texts that the theory is constructed here�Schreber's Memoires, Freud's interpretation, Ida Macalpine's-even if ex�amples borrowed from the cases that Lacan presented at Sainte-Anne recall clinical reality. The foreclosed signifier reappears in the Real under the for of hallucinated voices. The link with the case of the Wolfman (Freud), where 1 hallucination is visual-the hallucination of the cut finger referring to the penis-, is not established, except through the idea that the father is the ring holding together the mother, the child, and the phallus.

To return to the "pure Freudian position" is "to investigate more in depth the metaphysics of such a discovery" that is "entirely inscribed in man's re�lation to the symbolic." In psychosis, it is not a matter of the projection outside of a bodily "primitive inside," but of "a body of foreclosed signi�fiers." Thus, linguistics is very present here: from this point of view, many sessions in this seminar shed light on difficult writings such as La Lettre volee (31) or L'!nstance de la leltre (35). The Saussurian opposition between sig�nifier and signified leads to the radical separation of the two chains, until they are tied through anchoring points [points de capiton. a term borrowed from upholstery). Only one of these points is explained, the Father. With Jakobson and his article on aphasia, Les Aphasies. metaphor and metonymy reorganize mental pathology; the famous analysis of Boot endormi (Hugo) I allows Lacan to create the notion of paternal metaphor whose absence would d. In English in the original. 180 00881 ER mcan psychosis. Finally. Benvcniste's classification of pronouns (I/You/He) providcs thc opportunity for brilliant claborations on thc sentence, "You are thc one who will follow mc" ITu es celui qui me suivra(s)). a sentence that defincs thc founding word: that of sworn Faith situated in the Other. The Othcr, clcarly opposed to the imaginary other, seems to be "discourse itself." It is a beneficial place "where the I who speaks is constituted in relation with thc one who hcars" and, at the same time, an evil place since "the neurotic inhabits language; the psychotic is inhabited, possessed by the language" that persecutcs him. The whole destiny of man is decided during the Oedipus complex whose laws are the laws of language-however, everything is al�rcady decided in archaic times ("the fundamental signifier is a myth"). To explain psychosis by the absence of a primordial symbolization does not an�swer two questions, even with the help of the Schbna L. called the magical square. Why this absence and how to remedy to it? Many of the disciples' clinical discourses concerning the psychotic's mother (and more rarely the father) focus on this absence, a flaw in Lacan's elaboration. "It is not enough to want to be mad to become mad," indeed, but how does one become mad without maybe "wanting" to? The analysis of Schreber reveals something else: the question of procrea�tion, "in its cssential root," cscapes the symbolic web that includes neither creation ("being is born of another being") nor death. The absence of sym�bolization of the woman's sex organ as such (for "lack of material") and the absolute primacy of the phallus introduce a quasi-irreparable dissymmetry. This seminar, which goes back to the cas Dora (20) and presages the inter�vention on La Sexualite feminine (45), states that the feminine position is "problematic and, up to a certain point. cannot be assimilated." However. women are actually not the only ones concerned since the Real. which is so often said to be impossible in Lacan's works, is also in question here. [ This volume also includes the lecture given by Lacan, in Professor Delay's presence. for the centenary of Freud's birth: Freud dans Ie siecle (Freud in the century), where he explains what he meant by the return to Freud.


Back Cover

Taking us into and beyond the realm of Freudian psychoanalysis, Lacan examines the psychoses' inescapable connection to the symbolic process through which signifier is joined with signified.

Lacan deftly navigates the ontological levels of the symbolic, the imaginary, and the real to explain psychosis as "foreclosure," or rejection of the primordial signifier.

Then, bridging the gap between the theoretical and the practical, Lacan discusses the implications for treatment.

In these lectures on the psychoses, Lacan's renowned theory of metaphor and metonymy, along with the concept of the "quilting point," appears for the first time.

Short Summary

Only the first half of the seminar is explicitly concerned with questions of psychosis and psychotic phenomenon.

The second half looks at hysteria, the relationship between the signifier and the signified and finally issues of metaphor and metonymy.

The seminar also contains early formulations of the Name-of-the-Father and the phallus.

Sometimes controversial, invariably fascinating, Lacan's psycholinguistic approach to analysis of the psychoses is seen here in virtually unmediated form.


  • Le Séminaire. Livre III. Les psychoses, 1955-56. Ed. Jacques-Alain Miller. Paris: Seuil, 1981 [The Seminar. Book III. The Psychoses, 1955-56. Trans. Russell Grigg. London: Routledge, 1993].


Date PDF
Introduction a la question des psychoses
16 novembre 1955 link Introduction à la question des psychoses
23 novembre 1955 link La signification du délire
30 novembre 1955 link L'Autre et la psychose
7 décembre 1955 link "je viens de chez le charcutier"
Introduction a la question des psychoses
14 décembre 1955 link D'un dieu qui ne trompe pas et d'un qui trompe
21 décembre 1955 link Appendice. Séance suivante: Le discours du pupitre
11 janvier 1956 link Le phénomène psychotique et son mécanisme
18 janvier 1956 link La dissolution imaginaire
25 janvier 1956 link La phrase symbolique
1 février 1956 link Du non-sens et de la structure de Dieu
8 février 1956 link Du signifiant dans le réel et du miracle du hurlement
15 février 1956 link Du rejet d'un signifiant primordial
Du signifiant et du signifie
14 mars 1956 link La question hystérique
21 mars 1956 link La question hystérique (II): "Qu'est-ce qu'une femme?"
11 avril 1956 link Le signifiant comme tel, ne signifie rien
18 avril 1956 link Des signifiants primordiaux et du manque d'un
25 avril 1956 link Secrétaire de l'aliéné
2 mai 1956 link Métaphore et métonymie (I): "Sa gerbe n'était point avare, ni haineuse"
9 mai 1956 link Conférence: Freud dans le siècle
Les entours du trou
31 mai 1956 link L'appel, l'allusion
6 juin 1956 link Le point de capiton
13 juin 1956 link "Tu es celui qui me suivras"
20 juin 1956 link La grand'route et le signifiant "être père"
27 juin 1956 link "Tu es"
4 juillet 1956 link Le phallus et le météore