# Difference between revisions of "Algebra"

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==Jacques Lacan== | ==Jacques Lacan== | ||

− | [[Jacques Lacan]] begins to use [[algebraic]] [[symbol]]s in 1955 | + | [[Jacques Lacan]] begins to use [[algebraic]] [[symbol]]s in 1955 -- in an attempt to [[formalize]] [[psychoanalysis]]. |

===Formalization of Psychoanalysis=== | ===Formalization of Psychoanalysis=== |

## Revision as of 19:48, 7 August 2006

Algebra (Fr. *algèbre*) is a branch of mathematics (or logic) concerned with the properties and relationships of abstract entities represented in symbolic form.

## Jacques Lacan

Jacques Lacan begins to use algebraic symbols in 1955 -- in an attempt to formalize psychoanalysis.

### Formalization of Psychoanalysis

Three main reasons lie behind this attempt at formalization.

- 1. Formalization is necessary for psychoanalysis to acquire scientific status.

- Just as Claude Lévi-Strauss uses quasi-mathematical formulae in an attempt to set anthropology on a more scientific footing, Lacan attempts to do the same for psychoanalysis

- Lacan used quasi-mathematical formulae in an attempt to set psychoanalysis on a more scientific footing.

- 2. Formalization can provide a core of psychoanalytic theory which can be transmitted integrally even to those who have never experienced psychoanalytic treatment.

- The formulae thus become an essential aspect of the training of psychoanalysis which take their place alongside training analysis as a medium for the transmission of psychoanalytic knowledge.

- 3. Formalization of psychoanalytic theory in terms of algebraic symbols is a means of preventing intuitive understanding, which Lacan regards as an imaginary lure which hinders access to the symbolic.

- Rather than being understood in an intuitive way, the algebraic symbols are to be used, manipulated and read in various different ways.
^{[1]}

*Écrits: A Selection*. Trans. Alan Sheridan. London: Tavistock Publications, 1977. p.313