Difference between revisions of "Ethics"

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124-6, 162-4, and politics, 162-6, utilitarian, 132, Conversations
 
  
ethics (Èthique)             
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[[Ethics]] concerns human moral attitudes in general and, more specifically, rules of behavior and their justifications.
  
Lacan asserts that ethical thought 'is at the centre of our work as analysts' (S7, 38), and a whole year of his seminar is devoted to discussing the articulation of ethics and psychoanalysis (Lacan, 1959-60).
+
[[Lacan]] asserts that [[ethical]] [[thought]] "is at the center of our work as analysts.<ref>{{S7}} p.38</ref>
Simplifying matters somewhat, it could be said that ethical problems converge in psychoanalytic treatment from two sides: the side of the analysand and the side of the analyst.
 
On the side of the analysand is the problem of guilt and the pathogenic nature of civilised morality. In his earlier work, Freud conceives of a basic conflict between the demands of 'civilised 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 repressed, the latter leading to neurosis. In Freud's view, then, civilised morality is at the root of nervous illness (Freud, 1908d). Freud further developed his ideas on the pathogenic nature of morality in his theory of an unconscious sense of guilt, and in his later concept of the superego, an interior moral agency which becomes more cruel to the extent that the ego submits to its demands (Freud, 1923b).
 
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. These two sources of ethical problems pose different questions for the analyst:
 
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 (S7, 3), or by analysing 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. '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).
 
Therefore, when the analysand presents him with a 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? 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, while such an interpretation may find some support in Freud's earlier work (Freud, 1908d), Lacan is firmly opposed to such a view of Freud, preferring the more pessimistic Freud of Civilization and Its Discontents (Freud, 1930a) and stating categorically that 'Freud was in no way a progressive' (S7, 183). Psychoanalysis, then, is not simply a libertine ethos.
 
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 (see S7, 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.
 
An ethical position is implicit in every way of directing psychoanalytic treatment, whether this is admitted or not by the analyst. The ethical position of the analyst is most clearly revealed by the way that he formulates the goal of the treatment (S7, 207). For example the formulations of ego-psychology about the adaptation of the ego to reality imply a normative ethics (S7, 302). 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 (see AcT). Lacan summarises it in the question 'Have you acted in conformity with the desire that is in you? (S7, 314). He contrasts this ethic with the 'traditional ethics' (S7, 314) of Aristotle, Kant and other moral philosophers on several grounds.
 
Firstly, traditional ethics revolves around the concept of the Good, proposing different 'goods' which all compete for the position of the Sovereign Good. The psychoanalytic ethic, however, sees the Good as an obstacle in the path of desire; thus in psychoanalysis 'a radical repudiation of a certain ideal of the good is necessary' (S7, 230). The psychoanalytic ethic rejects all ideals, including ideals of 'happiness' and 'health'; and the fact that ego-psychology has embraced these ideals bars it from claiming to be a form of psychoanalysis (S7, 219). The desire of the analyst cannot therefore be the desire to 'do good' or 'to cure' (S7, 218).
 
Secondly, traditional ethics has always tended to link the good to pleasure; moral thought has 'developed along the paths of an essentially hedonistic problematic' (S7, 221). 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 (see JOUISSANCE).
 
Thirdly, traditional ethics revolves around 'the service of goods' (S7, 314) which puts work and a safe, ordered existence before questions of desire; it tells people to make their desires wait (S7, 315). The psychoanalytic ethic, on the other hand, forces the subject to confront the relation between his actions and his desire in immediacy of the present.
 
After his 1959-60 seminar on ethics, Lacan continues to locate ethical questions at the heart of psychoanalytic theory. 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). In the 1970s he shifts the emphasis of psychoanalytic ethics from the question of acting ('Have you acted in accordance with your desireT) to the question of speech; it now becomes an ethic of 'speaking well' (l'Èthique du Bien-direy (Lacan, 1973a: 65). However, this is more a difference of emphasis than an opposition, since for Lacan to speak well is in itself an act.
 
It is fundamentally an ethical position which separates psychoanalysis from SUGGESTION; psychoanalysis is based on a basic respect for the patient's right to resist domination, whereas suggestion sees such resistance as an obstacle to be crushed.
 
==def==
 
Ethics concerns mores: human moral attitudes in general and, more specifically, rules of behavior and their justifications. 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. For Freud, ethics takes up where totemism and taboos leave off, and constitutes the basis of all religion.
 
  
In Civilization and Its Discontents (1930a [1929]), Freud noted, "The cultural super-ego has developed its ideals and set up its...
+
[[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>
 +
 
 +
==Pleasure==
 +
 
 +
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]].
 +
 
 +
 
 +
==More==
 +
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==
 +
 
 +
 
 +
==References==
 +
<references/>
 +
* 124-6, 162-4, and politics, 162-6, utilitarian, 132, Conversations
  
 
[[Category:Psychoanalysis]]
 
[[Category:Psychoanalysis]]

Revision as of 05:12, 29 June 2006

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.[1]

Lacan devotes a whole year of his seminar to a dicussion of ethics and psychoanalysis.[2]

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 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 repressed, the latter leading to neurosis.)

For Freud, "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).

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."[4]

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").[5]

The desire of the analyst cannot therefore be the desire to 'do good' or 'to cure'.[6]

Pleasure

Traditional ethics tends to link the good to pleasure.

Moral thought has "developed along the paths of an essentially hedonistic problematic."[7]

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."[8]

Traditional ethics puts work and a safe, ordered existence before questions of desire; it tells people to make their desires wait.[9]

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.[10]

For example the formulations of ego-psychology about the adaptation of the ego to reality imply a normative ethics.[11]

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.


More

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

References

  1. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book VII. The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, 1959-60. Trans. Dennis Porter. London: Routledge, 1992. p.38
  2. <slides12> name=Seminar hideAll=true fontsize=100% hideFooter=false showButtons=true hideMenu=false hideHeading=false

    I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX X XI XII XIII XIV XV XVI XVII XVIII XIX XX XXI XXII XXIII XXIV XXV XXVI XXVII Index

    </slides12>

  3. Freud, 1908d
  4. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book VII. The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, 1959-60. Trans. Dennis Porter. London: Routledge, 1992. p.183
  5. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book VII. The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, 1959-60. Trans. Dennis Porter. London: Routledge, 1992. p.219
  6. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book VII. The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, 1959-60. Trans. Dennis Porter. London: Routledge, 1992. p.218
  7. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book VII. The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, 1959-60. Trans. Dennis Porter. London: Routledge, 1992. p.221
  8. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book VII. The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, 1959-60. Trans. Dennis Porter. London: Routledge, 1992. p.314
  9. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book VII. The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, 1959-60. Trans. Dennis Porter. London: Routledge, 1992. p.315
  10. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book VII. The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, 1959-60. Trans. Dennis Porter. London: Routledge, 1992. p.207
  11. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book VII. The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, 1959-60. Trans. Dennis Porter. London: Routledge, 1992. p.302
  • 124-6, 162-4, and politics, 162-6, utilitarian, 132, Conversations