Difference between revisions of "Ethics"

From No Subject - Encyclopedia of Psychoanalysis
Jump to: navigation, search
Line 1: Line 1:
[[Ethics]] concerns human moral attitudes in general and, more specifically, rules of behavior and their justifications.
[[Lacan]] asserts that [[ethical]] [[thought]] "is at the center of our work as analysts.<ref>{{S7}} p.38</ref>
[[Lacan]] devotes a whole year of his seminar to a dicussion of [[ethics]] and [[psychoanalysis]].<ref>{{S}}</ref>
[[Lacan]] continues to locate ethical questions at the heart of [[psychoanalytic theory]].
{ethical problems converge in psychoanalytic treatment from two sides: the side of the analysand and the side of the analyst.}
==The Analysand==
On the side of the analysand is the problem of guilt and the pathogenic nature of civilised morality.
[[Freud]] posited a basic conflict between the demands of "[[civilized]] [[morality]]" and the essentially a[[moral]] [[sexual]] [[drive]]s of the [[subject]].
(When morality gains the upper hand in this conflict, and the drives are too strong to be sublimated, sexuality is either expressed in perverse forms or repressed, the latter leading to neurosis.)
For [[Freud]], "[[civilized]] [[morality]]" is at the root of nervous illness.<ref>Freud, 1908d</ref>
Freud further developed his ideas on the pathogenic nature of morality in his theory of an unconscious sense of guilt,
superego, an interior moral agency which becomes more cruel to the extent that the ego submits to its demands (Freud, 1923b).
whenever the analysand feels guilty it is because he has, at some point, given way on his desire.
'From an analytic point of view, the only thing of which one can be guilty is of having given ground relative to one's desire' (S7, 319).
The [[analysand]] presents the [[analyst]] with a sense of [[guilt]].
==The Analyst==
(On the side of the analyst is the problem of how to deal with the pathogenic morality and unconscious guilt of the analysand, and also with the whole range of ethical problems that may arise in psychoanalytic treatment.)
(Certainly not by telling the analysand that he is not really guilty, or by attempting 'to soften, blunt or attenuate' his sense of guilt (S7, 3), or by analysing it away as a neurotic illusion. Lacan argues that the analyst must take the analysand's sense of guilt seriously.)
How is the [[analyst]] to respond to the [[analysand]]'s sense of [[guilt]]?
The [[analyst]]'s task is to discover where the [[analysand]] has given way on his [[desire]].
Secondly, how is the analyst to respond to the pathogenic morality which acts via the superego?
the analyst simply has to help the analysand free himself from moral constraints.
Psychoanalysis, then, is not simply a libertine ethos.
pessimistic Freud of Civilization and Its Discontents (Freud, 1930a) and stating categorically that 'Freud was in no way a progressive."<ref>{{S7}} p.183</ref>
This seems to present the analyst with a moral dilemma.
On the one hand, he cannot simply align himself with civilised morality, since this morality is pathogenic.
On the other hand, nor can he simply adopt an opposing libertine approach, since this too remains within the field of morality.<ref>{{S7}} p.3-4).
The rule of neutrality may seem to offer the analyst a way out of this dilemma, but in fact it does not, for Lacan points out that there is no such thing as an ethically neutral position.
The analyst cannot avoid, then, having to face ethical questions.
"Have you acted in conformity with the desire that is in you?"<ref>{{S7}} p.314</ref>
==Traditional Ethics==
(This system of rules attributes values to behaviors by judging them to be good or bad according to their intrinsic moral qualities or their concrete social consequences. )
[[Lacan]] rejects the "traditional ethics]] of [[Aristotle]], [[Kant]] and other [[moral]] [[philosophers]].
Traditional ethics revolves around the concept of the [[Good]].
Traditional ethics is concerned with the [[Sovereign Good]].
The [[psychoanalytic]] [[ethic]] sees the [[Good]] is an obstacle in the path of [[desire]].
In [[psychoanalysis]], "'a radical repudiation of a certain ideal of the good is necessary."<ref></ref>
The [[psychoanalytic]] [[ethic]] rejects all ideals (of "happiness" and "health").<ref>{{S7}} p.219</ref>
The [[desire of the analyst]] cannot therefore be the [[desire]] to 'do good' or 'to cure'.<ref>{{S7}} p.218</ref>
Traditional ethics tends to link the [[good]] to [[pleasure]].
[[Moral]] [[thought]] has "developed along the paths of an essentially hedonistic problematic."<ref>{{S7}} p.221</ref>
The psychoanalytic ethic, however, cannot take such an approach because psychoanalytic experience has revealed the duplicity of pleasure; there is a limit to pleasure and, when this is transgressed, pleasure becomes pain
==The Service of Goods==
Traditional ethics revolves around "the service of goods."<ref>{{S7}} p.314</ref>
Traditional ethics puts work and a safe, ordered [[existence]] before questions of desire; it tells people to make their desires wait.<ref>{{S7}} p.315</ref>
The [[psychoanalytic ethic]] forces the [[subject]] to confront the relation between his actions and his [[desire]] in immediacy of the present.
==The Ethics of Psychoanalysis==
An ethical position is implicit in every way of directing [[psychoanalytic treatment]].
The ethical position of the [[analyst]] is most clearly revealed by the way that he formulates the [[goal]] of the [[treatment]].<ref>{{S7}} p.207</ref>
For example the formulations of [[ego-psychology]] about the [[adaptation]] of the [[ego]] to [[reality]] imply a normative [[ethics]].<ref>{{S7}} p.302</ref>
It is in opposition to this ethical position that [[Lacan]] sets out to formulate his own [[analytic]] [[ethic]].
The [[analytic]] [[ethic]] that [[Lacan]] formulates is an [[ethic]] which relates [[action]] to [[desire]].
He interprets the soll in Freud's famous phrase Wo es war, soll Ich werden ('Where id was, there ego shall be', Freud, 1933a: SE XXII, 80) as an ethical duty (E, 128), and argues that the status of the unconscious is not ontological but ethical (Sll, 33).
==See Also==
* 124-6, 162-4, and politics, 162-6, utilitarian, 132, Conversations

Revision as of 04:06, 30 July 2006