In his "Reply to Jean Hyppolite's commentary on Freud's "Negation"" (1954), Lacan describes a primordial act of affirmation which is logically prior to any act of negation. Lacan uses Freud's German term, Bejahung to denote this primordial affirmation.
Whereas negation concerns what Freud called the "judgement of existence," Bejahung denotes something more fundamental, namely the primordial act of symbolization itself, the inclusion of something in the symbolic universe. Only after a thing has been symbolized (at the level of Bejahung) can the value of existence be attributed to it or not (negation).
Lacan posits a basic alternative between Bejahung and the psychotic mechanism he later calls "foreclosure". Bejahung designates a primordial inclusion of something in the symbolic, whereas foreclosure is a primordial refusal to include something -- the Name-of-the-Father -- in the symbolic.
- Lacan, Jacques. "Introduction aux commentaire de Jean Hyppolite sur la 'Verneinung' de Freud", in Lacan, Jacques. Écrits: A Selection. Trans. Alan Sheridan. London: Tavistock Publications, 1977. [1954b] pp. 381-99.
- Lacan, Jacques. Écrits. Paris: Seuil, 1966. p. 387
- Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book III. The Psychoses, 1955-56. Trans. Russell Grigg. London: Routledge, 1993. p. 82