Difference between revisions of "Science"

From No Subject - Encyclopedia of Psychoanalysis
Jump to: navigation, search
 
(The LinkTitles extension automatically added links to existing pages (<a rel="nofollow" class="external free" href="https://github.com/bovender/LinkTitles">https://github.com/bovender/LinkTitles</a>).)
(Tags: Mobile edit, Mobile web edit)
 
(17 intermediate revisions by 2 users not shown)
Line 1: Line 1:
science           (science)        Both Freud and Lacan use the term 'science' in the
+
{{Top}}scientific|science]]''
 +
|-
 +
|| [[German]]: ''[[Wissenschaft{{Bottom}}
  
singular, thus implying that there is a specific unified, homogeneous kind of
+
=====Scientific Discourse=====
 +
Both [[Freud]] and [[Lacan]] use the term "[[science]]" in the [[singular]], thus implying that there is a specific [[unified]], homogeneous kind of [[discourse]] that can be called "[[science|scientific]]".
  
discourse that can be called 'scientific'. This discourse begins, according to
+
This [[discourse]] begins, according to [[Lacan]], in the seventeenth century <ref>{{Ec}} p. 857</ref>, with the inauguration of modern physics.<ref>{{Ec}} p. 855</ref>.
  
Lacan, in the seventeenth century (Ec, 857), with the inauguration of modern
+
=====Sigmund Freud=====
 +
=====Science and Religion=====
 +
[[Freud]] regarded [[science]] as one of [[civilization]]'s highest achievements, and opposed it to the reactionary forces of [[religion]].
  
physics (Ec, 855).
+
=====Jacques Lacan=====
 +
[[Lacan]]'s attitude to [[science]] is more ambiguous.  
  
      Freud regarded science (Ger. Wissenschaft    - a term with markedly different
+
On the one hand, he criticizes [[science|modern science]] for ignoring the [[symbolic]] [[dimension]] of [[human]] [[existence]] and thus encouraging modern man "to forget his [[subjectivity]]."<ref>{{E}} p. 70</ref>.  
  
connotations in German) as one of civilisation's highest achievements, and
+
He also compares [[science|modern science]] to a "fully realised [[paranoia]]," in the [[sense]] that its totalizing constructions resemble the architecture of a [[delusion]].<ref>{{Ec}} p.874</ref>
  
opposed it to the reactionary forces of RELIGION. Lacan's attitude to science is
+
=====Positivist Model=====
 +
On the [[other]] hand, these criticisms are not levelled at [[science]] per se, but at the [[science|positivist model]] of [[science]].  
  
  more ambiguous. On the one hand, he criticises modern science for ignoring
+
[[Lacan]] implies that [[science|positivism]] is actually a deviation from "[[science|true science]]", and his own [[model]] of [[science]] owes more to the [[science|rationalism]] of Koyré, Bachelard and Canguilhem than to [[science|empiricism]].
  
the [[Symbolic]] dimension of human existence and thus encouraging modern man
+
=====Formalization=====
 +
In other [[words]], for [[Lacan]], what marks a [[discourse]] as [[science|scientific]] is a high degree of [[mathematical]] [[formalization]].
  
'to forget his subjectivity' (E, 70). He also compares modern science to a 'fully
+
This is what lies behind [[Lacan]]'s attempts to [[formalize]] [[psychoanalytic theory]] in [[terms]] of various [[mathematical]] [[algebra|formulae]].  
  
[[Real]]ised paranoia', in the sense that its totalising constructions resemble the
+
These [[algebra|formulae]] also encapsulate a further characteristic of [[science|scientific discourse]], which is that it should be transmissible.<ref>{{TV}} p. 60</ref>.
  
architecture of a delusion (Ec, 874).
+
=====Truth=====
 +
[[Lacan]] argues that [[science]] is characterized by a [[particular]] [[relationship]] to [[truth]].  
  
      On the other hand, these criticisms are not levelled at science per se, but at
+
On the one hand, it attempts to monopolize [[truth]] as its exclusive property <ref>{{Ec}} p. 79</ref>; and, on the other hand, [[science]] is in fact based on a [[foreclosure]] of the [[concept]] of [[truth]] as [[cause]].<ref>{{Ec}} p. 874</ref>.
  
the positivist model of science. Lacan implies that positivism is actually a
+
=====Knowledge=====
 +
[[Science]] is also characterised by a particular relationship to [[knowledge]] (''[[knowledge|savoir]]''), in that [[science]] is based on the [[exclusion]] of any access to [[knowledge]] by recourse to intuition and thus forces all the [[search]] for [[knowledge]] to follow only the path of [[reason]].<ref>{{Ec}} p. 831</ref>.  
  
deviation from 'true science', and his own model of science owes more to the
+
====="Subject of Science"=====
 +
The [[subject|modern subject]] is the "[[science|subject of science]]" in the sense that this exclusively [[rational]] route to [[knowledge]] is now a common presupposition.
  
rationalism of KoyrÈ, Bachelard and Canguilhem than to empiricism. In other
+
In [[stating]] that [[psychoanalysis]] operates only the [[subject]] of [[science]],<ref>{{Ec}} p. 858</ref> [[Lacan]] is arguing that [[psychoanalysis]] is not based on any appeal to an ineffable [[experience]] or flash of intuition, but on a [[process]] of reasoned dialogue, even when reason confronts its [[limit]] in [[madness]].
  
words, for Lacan, what marks a discourse as scientific is a high degree of
+
=====Human And Natural Sciences=====
 +
Although the [[distinction]] between the [[science|human sciences]] and the [[science|natural sciences]] had become quite well-established by the end of the nineteenth century, it does not [[figure]] in [[Freud]]'s [[work]].
  
mathematical formalisation. This is what lies behind Lacan's attempts to
+
[[Lacan]], on the other hand, pays great attention to this distinction.
  
formalise psychoanalytic theory in terms of various mathematical formulae
+
However, rather than talking of the "[[science|human sciences]]" and the "[[science|natural sciences]]", [[Lacan]] prefers instead to talk of the "[[science|conjectural sciences]]" and the "[[science|exact sciences]]."
  
(see    MATHEMATICS, ALGEBRA). These formulae also encapsulate a further
+
=====Conjectural and Exact Sciences=====
 +
Whereas the [[science|exact sciences]] concern the field of phenomena in which there is no one who uses a [[signifier]],<ref>{{S3}} p. 186</ref> the [[science|conjectural sciences]] are fundamentally different because they concern beings who inhabit the [[symbolic]] [[order]].  
  
characteristic of scientific discourse (perhaps the most fundamental one in
+
In 1965, however, [[Lacan]] problematizes the distinction between [[science|conjectural]] and [[science|exact]] [[science]]s:
  
Lacan's view), which is that it should be transmissible (Lacan, 1973a: 60).
+
<blockquote>The opposition between the [[science|exact sciences]] and the [[science|conjectural sciences]] can no longer be sustained from the [[moment]] when conjecture is susceptible to an exact calculation and when exactitude is based only on  a formalism which separates axioms and [[law]]s of grouping [[symbol]]s.<ref>{{Ec}} p. 863</ref></blockquote>
  
      Lacan argues that science is characterised by a particular relationship to
+
Whereas in the last century physics provided a paradigm of exactitude for the [[science|exact sciences]] which made the [[science|conjectural sciences]] seem sloppy by comparison, the arrival on the [[scene]] of [[structuralism|structural]] [[linguistics]] redressed the imbalance by providing an equally exact paradigm for the [[science|conjectural sciences]].
  
  TRUTH. On the one hand, it attempts (illegitimately, thinks Lacan) to mono-
+
=====Natural Sciences=====
 +
When [[Freud]] borrowed terms from other [[science]]s, it was always from the [[science|natural sciences]] because these were the only [[science]]s around in [[Freud]]'s day that provided a model of rigorous investigation and [[thought]].
  
polise truth as its exclusive property (Ec, 79); and, on the other hand (as Lacan
+
[[Lacan]] differs from [[Freud]] by importing [[concepts]] mainly from the "[[science]]s of subjectivity," and by aligning [[psychoanalytic theory]] with these rather than with the [[science|natural sciences]].
  
later argues), science is in fact based on a foreclosure of the concept of truth as
+
[[Lacan]] argues that this paradigm shift is in fact implicit in [[Freud]]'s own reformulations of the concepts that he borrowed from the [[science|natural sciences]].
  
  cause (Ec, 874).
+
=====Structural Linguistics=====
 +
In other words, whenever [[Freud]] borrowed concepts from [[biology]] he reformulated those concepts so radically that he created a totally new paradigm which was quite [[alien]] to its [[biological]] origins.  
  
      [[Science]] is also characterised by        a particular relationship tO KNOWLEDGE
+
Thus, according to [[Lacan]], [[Freud]] anticipated the findings of modern [[structural]] [[linguists]] such as [[Saussure]], and his work can be better [[understood]] in the light of these [[linguistics|linguistic concepts]].
  
(savoir), in that science is based on the exclusion of any access to knowledge
+
=====Is Psychoanalysis a Science?=====
 +
[[Freud]] was quite [[explicit]] in affirming the [[science|scientific status]] of [[psychoanalysis]]:
  
by recourse to intuition and thus forces all the search for knowledge to follow
+
<blockquote>"While it was originally the [[name]] of a particular therapeutic method [...] it has now also become the name of a [[science]] - the [[science]] of [[unconscious]] [[mental]] [[processes]]."<ref>{{F}} ''[[Works of Sigmund Freud|An Autobiographical Study]]'', 1925a: [[SE]] XX, 70</ref></blockquote>
only the path of reason (Ec, 831). The modern subject is the 'subject of
 
  
science' in the       sense that this exclusively rational route to knowledge is
+
However, he also insisted on the unique [[character]] of [[psychoanalysis]] that sets it apart from the other [[science]]s:
  
now a common presupposition. In stating that psychoanalysis operates only
+
<blockquote>"Every [[science]] is based on observations and experiences arrived at through the medium of our [[psychical]] [[apparatus]]. But since our [[science]] has as its subject that apparatus itself, the analogy ends here."<ref>{{F}} ''[[Works of Sigmund Freud|An Outline of Psycho-Analysis]]'', 1940a [1938]: [[SE]] XXIII, 159</ref></blockquote>
  
the subject of science (Ec, 858) Lacan is arguing that psychoanalysis is not
+
=====Jacques Lacan=====
 +
The question of the status of [[psychoanalysis]] and its relationship with other disciplines is also one to which [[Lacan]] devotes much attention.
  
based on any appeal to an ineffable experience or flash of intuition, but on a
+
In his pre-war writings, [[psychoanalysis]] is seen unreservedly in scientific terms.<ref>{{L}} "[[Work of Jacques Lacan|Au-delà du 'principe de realité']]", 1936. {{E}} pp. 73-92</ref>
  
process of reasoned dialogue, even when reason confronts its limit in madness.
+
However, after 1950 [[Lacan]]'s attitude to the question becomes much more [[complex]].
  
    Although the distinction between the human sciences and the natural sciences
+
=====Art=====
 +
In 1953, he states that in the opposition [[science]] versus [[art]], [[psychoanalysis]] can be located on the side of [[art]], on condition that the term "[[art]]" is understood in the sense in which it was used in the Middle Ages, when the "[[liberal]] [[arts]]" included arithmetic, geometry, [[music]] and grammar.<ref>{{L}} "[[Works of Jacques Lacan|The Neurotic's Individual Myth]]," trans. Martha Evans, in L. Spurling (ed.), ''[[Sigmund Freud]]: Critical Assessments'', vol. II, ''The [[Theory]] and [[Practice]] of Psychoanalysis'', [[London]] and New York: Routledge, 1989, p. 224. [Originally published in ''[[Psychoanalytic]] Quaterly'', 48 (1979)].</ref>
  
had become quite well-established by the end of the nineteenth century (thanks
+
=====Religion=====
 +
However, in the opposition [[science]] versus [[religion]], [[Lacan]] follows [[Freud]] in arguing that [[psychoanalysis]] has more in common with [[science|scientific discourse]] than [[religion|religious discourse]]:
  
to the work of Dilthey), it does not figure in Freud's work. Lacan, on the other
+
<blockquote>"Psychoanalysis is not a religion. It proceeds from the same status as [[science]] itself."<ref>{{S11}} p. 265</ref></blockquote>
  
hand, pays great attention to this distinction. However, rather than talking of the
+
=====Scientific Status=====
 +
If, as [[Lacan]] argues, a [[science]] is only constituted as such by isolating and defining its particular object of enquiry,<ref>[[Lacan]] argues that [[psychoanalysis]] has actually set [[psychology]] on a scientific footing by providing it with a proper object of enquiry -- the [[imago]]; <ref>{{L}} "[[Work of Jacques Lacan|Propos sur la causalité psychique]]", in {{E}} [1946]. pp. 151-93</ref>; {{Ec}} p. 188</ref> then, when in 1965 he isolates the ''[[objet petit a]]'' as the [[object]] of [[psychoanalysis]], he is in effect claiming a [[science|scientific status]] for [[psychoanalysis]].<ref>{{Ec}} p. 863</ref>.
  
'human sciences' (a term which Lacan dislikes intensely      - see Ec, 859) and the
+
However, from this point on [[Lacan]] comes increasingly to question this view of [[psychoanalysis]] as a [[science]].
  
'natural sciences', Lacan prefers instead to talk of the 'conjectural sciences' (or
+
In the same year he states that [[psychoanalysis]] is not a [[science]] but a "practice" (''pratique'') with a "[[science|scientific vocation]]",<ref>{{Ec}} p. 863</ref> though in the same year he also speaks of 'the [[science|psychoanalytic science]]."<ref>{{Ec}} p. 876</ref>.
  
sciences of subjectivity) and the 'exact sciences'. Whereas the exact sciences
+
By 1977 he has become more categorical:
  
concern the field of phenomena in which there is no one who uses a signifier (S3,
+
<blockquote>Psychoanalysis is not a [[science]]. It has no scientific status    - it merely waits and hopes for it. Psychoanalysis is a delusion  - a delusion which is expected to produce a [[science]]. .  . . It is a scientific delusion, but this doesn't mean that [[analytic]] practice will ever produce a [[science]]. <ref>{{L}} ''[[Seminar XXIV| Le Séminaire. Livre XXIV. L'insu que sait de l'une bévue s'aile à mourre, 1976-77'', published in ''Ornicar?'', nos 12-18, 1977-9; [[Seminar]] of 11 January 1977; ''[[Ornicar?]]'', 14: 4</ref></blockquote>
  
186), the conjectural sciences are fundamentally different because they concern
+
=====Linguistics and Mathematics=====
 +
However, even when [[Lacan]] makes such statements, he never abandons the [[project]] of [[formalizing]] [[psychoanalytic theory]] in [[linguistic]] and [[mathematical]] terms.
  
beings who inhabit the [[Symbolic]] order. In 1965, however, Lacan problematises
+
Indeed, the tension between the [[science|scientific formalism]] of the [[matheme]] and the semantic profusion of ''[[lalangue]]'' constitutes one of the most interesting features of [[Lacan]]'s later work.
  
the distinction between conjectural and exact sciences:
+
==See Also==
 +
{{See}}
 +
* [[Algebra]]
 +
* [[Art]]
 +
* [[Biology]]
 +
||
 +
* [[Discourse]]
 +
* [[Knowledge]]
 +
* [[Linguistic]]
 +
||
 +
* [[Mathematics]]
 +
* [[Matheme]]
 +
* [[Nature]]
 +
||
 +
* [[Psychoanalysis]]
 +
* [[Psychology]]
 +
* [[Religion]]
 +
||
 +
* [[Subject]]
 +
* [[Treatment]]
 +
* [[Truth]]
 +
{{Also}}
  
    The opposition between the exact sciences and the conjectural sciences can
+
==References==
 +
<div style="font-size:11px" class="references-small">
 +
<references/>
 +
</div>
  
    no longer be sustained from the moment when conjecture is susceptible to an
+
[[Category:Science]]
 +
[[Category:Psychoanalysis]]
 +
[[Category:Jacques Lacan]]
 +
[[Category:Dictionary]]
 +
[[Category:Concepts]]
 +
[[Category:Terms]]
 +
[[Category:Edit]]
  
    exact calculation (probability) and when exactitude is based only              on  a
+
__NOTOC__
 
 
    formalism which separates axioms and laws of grouping symbols.
 
 
 
                                                                                                              (Ec, 863)
 
 
 
    Whereas in the last century physics provided a paradigm of exactitude for
 
 
 
the exact sciences which made the conjectural sciences              seem sloppy by
 
 
 
comparison, the arrival on the scene of structural linguistics redressed the
 
 
 
imbalance by providing an equally exact paradigm for the conjectural scien-
 
 
 
ces. When Freud borrowed terms from other sciences, it was always from the
 
 
 
natural sciences (principally BIOLOGY, medicine and thermodynamics) because
 
 
 
these were the only sciences around in Freud's day that provided a model of
 
 
 
rigorous investigation and thought. Lacan differs from Freud by importing
 
 
 
concepts mainly from the 'sciences of subjectivity' (principally LINGUISTICS),
 
 
 
and by aligning psychoanalytic theory with these rather than with the natural
 
 
 
sciences. Lacan argues that this paradigm shift is in fact implicit in Freud's
 
 
 
own reformulations of the concepts that he borrowed from the natural sciences.
 
 
 
In other words, whenever Freud borrowed concepts from biology he reformu-
 
 
 
lated those concepts so radically that he created a totally new paradigm which
 
 
 
was quite alien to its biological origins. Thus, according to Lacan, Freud
 
 
 
anticipated the findings of modern structural linguists such as Saussure, and
 
 
 
his work can be better understood in the light of these linguistic concepts.
 
 
 
    Is psychoanalysis    a science? Freud      was quite explicit in affirming the
 
 
 
scientific status of psychoanalysis: 'While it          was originally the    name of a
 
 
 
particular therapeutic method,' he wrote in 1924, 'it has now also become
 
 
 
the name of a science    - the science of unconscious mental processes' (Freud,
 
 
 
1925a: SE XX, 70). However, he also insisted on the unique character of
 
 
 
psychoanalysis that sets it apart from the other sciences; 'Every science is
 
 
 
based on observations and experiences arrived at through the medium of our
 
 
 
psychical apparatus. But since our science has as its subject that apparatus
 
 
 
itself, the analogy ends here' (Freud, 1940a: SE XXIII, 159).The question of
 
 
 
the status of psychoanalysis and its relationship with other disciplines is also
 
 
 
one to which Lacan devotes much attention. In his pre-war writings, psycho-
 
 
 
analysis is seen unreservedly in scientific terms (e.g. Lacan, 1936). However,
 
 
 
after 1950 Lacan's attitude to the question becomes much more complex.
 
 
 
    In 1953, he states that in the opposition science versus ART, psychoanalysis
 
 
 
can be located on the side of art, on condition that the term 'art' is understood
 
 
 
in the sense in which it was used in the Middle Ages, when the 'liberal arts'
 
 
 
included arithmetic, geometry, music and grammar (Lacan: 1953b: 224).
 
 
 
However, in the opposition science versus religion, Lacan follows Freud in
 
 
 
arguing that psychoanalysis has more in common with scientific discourse than
 
 
 
religious discourse: 'psychoanalysis is not a religion. It proceeds from the
 
 
 
same status as [[Science]] itself (Sl1, 265).
 
 
 
    If, as Lacan argues, a science is only constituted as such by isolating and
 
 
 
defming its particular object of enquiry (see Lacan, 1946, where he argues that
 
 
 
psychoanalysis has actually set psychology on a scientific footing by providing
 
 
 
it with a proper object of enquiry    - the imago  - Ec, 188), then, when in 1965
 
 
 
he isolates the objet petit a as the object of psychoanalysis, he is in effect
 
 
 
claiming a scientific status for psychoanalysis (Ec, 863).
 
 
 
    However, from this point on Lacan comes increasingly to question this view
 
 
 
of psychoanalysis as a science. In the same year he states that psychoanalysis
 
 
 
is not a science but a 'practice' (pratique) with a 'scientific vocation' (Ec,
 
 
 
863), though in the same year he also speaks of 'the psychoanalytic science'
 
 
 
(Ec, 876). By 1977 he has become more categorical:
 
 
 
    Psychoanalysis is not a science. It has no scientific status    - it merely waits
 
 
 
    and hopes for it. Psychoanalysis is a delusion  - a delusion which is expected
 
 
 
    to produce a science. .  . . It is a scientific delusion, but this doesn't mean that
 
 
 
    analytic practice will ever produce a science.
 
 
 
                        (Lacan, 1976-7; seminar of 11 January 1977; Ornicar?, 14: 4)
 
 
 
    However, even when Lacan makes such statements, he never abandons the
 
 
 
project of formalising psychoanalytic theory in linguistic and mathematical
 
 
 
terms. Indeed, the tension between the scientific formalism of the MATHEME and
 
 
 
the semantic profusion of lalangue constitutes one of the most interesting
 
 
 
features of Lacan's later work.
 

Latest revision as of 18:39, 20 May 2019

French: science
German: Wissenschaft
Scientific Discourse

Both Freud and Lacan use the term "science" in the singular, thus implying that there is a specific unified, homogeneous kind of discourse that can be called "scientific".

This discourse begins, according to Lacan, in the seventeenth century [1], with the inauguration of modern physics.[2].

Sigmund Freud
Science and Religion

Freud regarded science as one of civilization's highest achievements, and opposed it to the reactionary forces of religion.

Jacques Lacan

Lacan's attitude to science is more ambiguous.

On the one hand, he criticizes modern science for ignoring the symbolic dimension of human existence and thus encouraging modern man "to forget his subjectivity."[3].

He also compares modern science to a "fully realised paranoia," in the sense that its totalizing constructions resemble the architecture of a delusion.[4]

Positivist Model

On the other hand, these criticisms are not levelled at science per se, but at the positivist model of science.

Lacan implies that positivism is actually a deviation from "true science", and his own model of science owes more to the rationalism of Koyré, Bachelard and Canguilhem than to empiricism.

Formalization

In other words, for Lacan, what marks a discourse as scientific is a high degree of mathematical formalization.

This is what lies behind Lacan's attempts to formalize psychoanalytic theory in terms of various mathematical formulae.

These formulae also encapsulate a further characteristic of scientific discourse, which is that it should be transmissible.[5].

Truth

Lacan argues that science is characterized by a particular relationship to truth.

On the one hand, it attempts to monopolize truth as its exclusive property [6]; and, on the other hand, science is in fact based on a foreclosure of the concept of truth as cause.[7].

Knowledge

Science is also characterised by a particular relationship to knowledge (savoir), in that science is based on the exclusion of any access to knowledge by recourse to intuition and thus forces all the search for knowledge to follow only the path of reason.[8].

"Subject of Science"

The modern subject is the "subject of science" in the sense that this exclusively rational route to knowledge is now a common presupposition.

In stating that psychoanalysis operates only the subject of science,[9] Lacan is arguing that psychoanalysis is not based on any appeal to an ineffable experience or flash of intuition, but on a process of reasoned dialogue, even when reason confronts its limit in madness.

Human And Natural Sciences

Although the distinction between the human sciences and the natural sciences had become quite well-established by the end of the nineteenth century, it does not figure in Freud's work.

Lacan, on the other hand, pays great attention to this distinction.

However, rather than talking of the "human sciences" and the "natural sciences", Lacan prefers instead to talk of the "conjectural sciences" and the "exact sciences."

Conjectural and Exact Sciences

Whereas the exact sciences concern the field of phenomena in which there is no one who uses a signifier,[10] the conjectural sciences are fundamentally different because they concern beings who inhabit the symbolic order.

In 1965, however, Lacan problematizes the distinction between conjectural and exact sciences:

The opposition between the exact sciences and the conjectural sciences can no longer be sustained from the moment when conjecture is susceptible to an exact calculation and when exactitude is based only on a formalism which separates axioms and laws of grouping symbols.[11]

Whereas in the last century physics provided a paradigm of exactitude for the exact sciences which made the conjectural sciences seem sloppy by comparison, the arrival on the scene of structural linguistics redressed the imbalance by providing an equally exact paradigm for the conjectural sciences.

Natural Sciences

When Freud borrowed terms from other sciences, it was always from the natural sciences because these were the only sciences around in Freud's day that provided a model of rigorous investigation and thought.

Lacan differs from Freud by importing concepts mainly from the "sciences of subjectivity," and by aligning psychoanalytic theory with these rather than with the natural sciences.

Lacan argues that this paradigm shift is in fact implicit in Freud's own reformulations of the concepts that he borrowed from the natural sciences.

Structural Linguistics

In other words, whenever Freud borrowed concepts from biology he reformulated those concepts so radically that he created a totally new paradigm which was quite alien to its biological origins.

Thus, according to Lacan, Freud anticipated the findings of modern structural linguists such as Saussure, and his work can be better understood in the light of these linguistic concepts.

Is Psychoanalysis a Science?

Freud was quite explicit in affirming the scientific status of psychoanalysis:

"While it was originally the name of a particular therapeutic method [...] it has now also become the name of a science - the science of unconscious mental processes."[12]

However, he also insisted on the unique character of psychoanalysis that sets it apart from the other sciences:

"Every science is based on observations and experiences arrived at through the medium of our psychical apparatus. But since our science has as its subject that apparatus itself, the analogy ends here."[13]

Jacques Lacan

The question of the status of psychoanalysis and its relationship with other disciplines is also one to which Lacan devotes much attention.

In his pre-war writings, psychoanalysis is seen unreservedly in scientific terms.[14]

However, after 1950 Lacan's attitude to the question becomes much more complex.

Art

In 1953, he states that in the opposition science versus art, psychoanalysis can be located on the side of art, on condition that the term "art" is understood in the sense in which it was used in the Middle Ages, when the "liberal arts" included arithmetic, geometry, music and grammar.[15]

Religion

However, in the opposition science versus religion, Lacan follows Freud in arguing that psychoanalysis has more in common with scientific discourse than religious discourse:

"Psychoanalysis is not a religion. It proceeds from the same status as science itself."[16]

Scientific Status

If, as Lacan argues, a science is only constituted as such by isolating and defining its particular object of enquiry,Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag; Lacan, Jacques. Écrits. Paris: Seuil, 1966. p. 188</ref> then, when in 1965 he isolates the objet petit a as the object of psychoanalysis, he is in effect claiming a scientific status for psychoanalysis.[17].

However, from this point on Lacan comes increasingly to question this view of psychoanalysis as a science.

In the same year he states that psychoanalysis is not a science but a "practice" (pratique) with a "scientific vocation",[18] though in the same year he also speaks of 'the psychoanalytic science."[19].

By 1977 he has become more categorical:

Psychoanalysis is not a science. It has no scientific status - it merely waits and hopes for it. Psychoanalysis is a delusion - a delusion which is expected to produce a science. . . . It is a scientific delusion, but this doesn't mean that analytic practice will ever produce a science. [20]

Linguistics and Mathematics

However, even when Lacan makes such statements, he never abandons the project of formalizing psychoanalytic theory in linguistic and mathematical terms.

Indeed, the tension between the scientific formalism of the matheme and the semantic profusion of lalangue constitutes one of the most interesting features of Lacan's later work.

See Also

References

  1. Lacan, Jacques. Écrits. Paris: Seuil, 1966. p. 857
  2. Lacan, Jacques. Écrits. Paris: Seuil, 1966. p. 855
  3. Lacan, Jacques. Écrits: A Selection. Trans. Alan Sheridan. London: Tavistock Publications, 1977. p. 70
  4. Lacan, Jacques. Écrits. Paris: Seuil, 1966. p.874
  5. Lacan, Jacques. Télévision, Paris: Seuil, 1973. Television: A Challenge to the Psychoanalytic Establishment, ed. Joan Copjec, trans. Denis Hollier, Rosalind Krauss and Annette Michelson, New York: Norton, 1990]. p. 60
  6. Lacan, Jacques. Écrits. Paris: Seuil, 1966. p. 79
  7. Lacan, Jacques. Écrits. Paris: Seuil, 1966. p. 874
  8. Lacan, Jacques. Écrits. Paris: Seuil, 1966. p. 831
  9. Lacan, Jacques. Écrits. Paris: Seuil, 1966. p. 858
  10. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book III. The Psychoses, 1955-56. Trans. Russell Grigg. London: Routledge, 1993. p. 186
  11. Lacan, Jacques. Écrits. Paris: Seuil, 1966. p. 863
  12. Freud, Sigmund. An Autobiographical Study, 1925a: SE XX, 70
  13. Freud, Sigmund. An Outline of Psycho-Analysis, 1940a [1938]: SE XXIII, 159
  14. Lacan, Jacques. "Au-delà du 'principe de realité'", 1936. Lacan, Jacques. Écrits: A Selection. Trans. Alan Sheridan. London: Tavistock Publications, 1977. pp. 73-92
  15. Lacan, Jacques. "The Neurotic's Individual Myth," trans. Martha Evans, in L. Spurling (ed.), Sigmund Freud: Critical Assessments, vol. II, The Theory and Practice of Psychoanalysis, London and New York: Routledge, 1989, p. 224. [Originally published in Psychoanalytic Quaterly, 48 (1979)].
  16. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book XI. The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, 1964. Trans. Alan Sheridan. London: Hogarth Press and Institute of Psycho-Analysis, 1977. p. 265
  17. Lacan, Jacques. Écrits. Paris: Seuil, 1966. p. 863
  18. Lacan, Jacques. Écrits. Paris: Seuil, 1966. p. 863
  19. Lacan, Jacques. Écrits. Paris: Seuil, 1966. p. 876
  20. Lacan, Jacques. [[Seminar XXIV| Le Séminaire. Livre XXIV. L'insu que sait de l'une bévue s'aile à mourre, 1976-77, published in Ornicar?, nos 12-18, 1977-9; Seminar of 11 January 1977; Ornicar?, 14: 4