Difference between revisions of "Ethics"

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Secondly, how is the [[analyst]] to respond to the [[ethics|pathogenic morality]] which acts via the [[superego]]?  
 
Secondly, how is the [[analyst]] to respond to the [[ethics|pathogenic morality]] which acts via the [[superego]]?  
  
[[Freud]]
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[[Freud]]'s views of [[ethics|morality]] as a pathogenic force might seem to imply that the [[analyst]] simply has to help the [[analysand]] free himself from moral constraints.
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However, which such an [[interpretation]] may find some support in [[Freud]]'s earlier work,<ref>Freud 1908d</ref> [[Lacan]] is firmly opposed to such a view of [[Freud]], preferring the more pessimistic [[Freud]] of ''[[Civilization and Its Discontents]]''<ref>{{F}} 1930</ref>
 
the analyst simply has to help the analysand free himself from moral constraints.  
 
the analyst simply has to help the analysand free himself from moral constraints.  
  

Revision as of 03:10, 31 August 2006

French: éthique
Jacques Lacan

Lacan asserts that ethical thought "is at the centre of our work as analysts,"[1] and a whole year of his seminar is devoted to discussing the articulation of ethics and psychoanalysis .[2]

Psychoanalytic Treatment

Simplifying matters somewhat, it could be said that ethical problems converge in psychoanalytic treatment from two sides:

The Analysand

On the side of the analysand is the problem of guilt and the pathogenic nature of civilized morality.

In his earlier work, Freud posited a basic conflict between the demands of "civilized morality" and the essentially amoral sexual drives 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 [[repression|repressed], the latter leading to neurosis.

In Freud's view, "civilized morality" is at the root of nervous illness.[3]

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).

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.

Guilt

Firstly, how is the analyst to respond to the analysand's sense of guilt?

Certainly not by telling the analysand that he is not really guilty, or by attempting "to soften, blunt or attenuate" his sense of guilt,[4] or by analyzing it away as a neurotic illusion.

On the contrary, Lacan argues that the analyst must take the analysand's sense of guilt seriously, for at bottom whenever the analysand feels guilty it is because he has, at some point, given way on his desire.

Superego

Secondly, how is the analyst to respond to the pathogenic morality which acts via the superego?

Freud's views of morality as a pathogenic force might seem to imply that the analyst simply has to help the analysand free himself from moral constraints.

However, which such an interpretation may find some support in Freud's earlier work,[5] Lacan is firmly opposed to such a view of Freud, preferring the more pessimistic Freud of Civilization and Its Discontents[6] 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."[7]

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.Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag

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."Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; refs with no name must have content

The psychoanalytic ethic rejects all ideals (of "happiness" and "health").[8]

The desire of the analyst cannot therefore be the desire to 'do good' or 'to cure'.[9]

Pleasure

Traditional ethics tends to link the good to pleasure.

Moral thought has "developed along the paths of an essentially hedonistic problematic."[10]

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."[11]

Traditional ethics puts work and a safe, ordered existence before questions of desire; it tells people to make their desires wait.[12]

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.[13]

For example the formulations of ego-psychology about the adaptation of the ego to reality imply a normative ethics.[14]

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.


References

  1. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book VII. The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, 1959-60. Trans. Dennis Porter. London: Routledge, 1992. p. 38
  2. Lacan, 1959-60
  3. Freud, 1908d
  4. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book VII. The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, 1959-60. Trans. Dennis Porter. London: Routledge, 1992. p.3
  5. Freud 1908d
  6. Freud, Sigmund. 1930
  7. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book VII. The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, 1959-60. Trans. Dennis Porter. London: Routledge, 1992. p.183
  8. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book VII. The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, 1959-60. Trans. Dennis Porter. London: Routledge, 1992. p.219
  9. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book VII. The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, 1959-60. Trans. Dennis Porter. London: Routledge, 1992. p.218
  10. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book VII. The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, 1959-60. Trans. Dennis Porter. London: Routledge, 1992. p.221
  11. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book VII. The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, 1959-60. Trans. Dennis Porter. London: Routledge, 1992. p.314
  12. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book VII. The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, 1959-60. Trans. Dennis Porter. London: Routledge, 1992. p.315
  13. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book VII. The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, 1959-60. Trans. Dennis Porter. London: Routledge, 1992. p.207
  14. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book VII. The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, 1959-60. Trans. Dennis Porter. London: Routledge, 1992. p.302