Is Lacan a pseudoscience?

Is Lacan a pseudoscience?

For a long time, psychoanalysis has been deemed pseudoscience, and in our Karl Popper-worshipping American society, Lacan in particular is persona non grata among scientists of all stripes—though cultural/gender studies and related departments find him useful.

Lacan's work challenges many traditional assumptions about the mind and human behavior, including those of science. He argues that there are fundamental differences between conscious thought and emotion, for example, and his theories have inspired many contemporary psychologists to rethink both topics.

However, he also asserts that psychoanalytic theory is not testable by scientific methods and thus is subject to criticism from within the field of psychology itself. His central concept of the "mirror stage" explains some psychological traits such as narcissism and jealousy but cannot be empirically proven through research.

Furthermore, some recent works on cognitive neuropsychology have called into question certain aspects of Lacanian theory such as its distinction between the unconscious and reality and its reliance on metaphorical thinking.

In conclusion, yes, Lacan is a pseudoscience because it is impossible to verify many of his claims experimentally and therefore we can't trust their accuracy.

What does "Lacan" mean?

Lacanianism is the study and development of the concepts and theories of Jacques Lacan, a dissident French psychotherapist. Lacanianism began as a reflection on Freud's ideas and evolved into a new psychoanalytic philosophy of humanity, spawning its own international movement. The term "Lacanian" is used both as a descriptive label and as a derogatory one.

Lacan's work focuses on the unconscious mind, dream interpretation, fantasy, repetition, resistance, and the role of the father in psychoanalysis. He proposed a new model for thinking about the mind with which many psychologists today agree. His influence can also be seen in the work of other psychoanalysts such as Ronald Fairbairn and Henry Hartmann, as well as cognitive therapists such as Albert Ellis and Aaron Beck.

Lacan was born in 1909 in Algeria and died in 1981 in France. He trained as a psychoanalyst with Freud's nephew, Edward Bernays, who later became known as the father of public relations. In addition to publishing numerous books and articles, Lacan developed his own language, called Semiology, which has been adopted by some linguists and philosophers as a tool for analyzing meaning.

He is considered one of the most important thinkers in modern psychology.

Where should I start with Lacan?

Starting with Zizek's How to Read Lacan is a great place to start, followed by Fink's more approachable books like The Lacanian Subject, A Clinical Introduction to Lacanian Psychoanalysis, and Fundamentals of Psychoanalytic Technique. You'd be surprised at how accessible Fink's paintings are. They're not easy to understand, but they're not too difficult either.

If you want to read more about psychoanalysis as a whole instead of just Lacanian theory, then the following books are good places to look: The Freudian Challenge by Antonio Damasio, Understanding Human Behavior by John Bowlby, Thomas Lewis, and Richard Lewin, and Contemporary Psychoanalysis by Joseph Bristow.

Finally, if you're interested in writing your own essays on Lacan, please take a look at these two books: Writing Seminars from Within and On Feminine Sexuality. These books include material from Zizek's seminars that he has since published in book form. They offer very useful guidance on how to write effective essays about Lacan.

What is the imaginary in Lacan?

The inherent narcissism by which the human subject generates fantasy pictures of both himself and his ideal object of love, according to Lacan, is fundamental. The imagined order is inextricably linked to Lacan's theory of the mirror stage. At this time, infants explore their image in a mirror and try to understand what it is they are seeing.

Lacan also argues that the imaginary is what gives rise to desire. On one hand, there is something you want (a perfect lover, for example). On the other hand, there is something you have (a parentally approved role model, for example). Through a process called "splitting", where you imagine yourself wanting something while at the same time believing you should not want it, you create the preconditions for desire to exist.

Finally, he says that the imaginary constitutes humanity's sole access to the real. By imagining someone or something else, you can come to know what the real thing is like. You can also manipulate others through your fantasies, which means you can exercise some control over the reality of your surroundings.

In conclusion, the imaginary is what makes us human.

What should I read before Lacan?

They're not easy, but they're not as difficult as some other psychoanalysts'.

If you want to read more about psychoanalysis in general, I recommend Barthes, Jouvet, and Miller. For philosophy, look into Derrida's Margins of Philosophy or Levinas's Totality and Infinity. For literature, try Freudian Theory: Alcott, Austen, Dickinson, Eliot, Flaubert, James, Joyce, Le Clézio, Mallarmé, Moers, Proust, Shakespeare, Stendhal, Swift, Tolstoy, and Twain.

Finally, if you want to learn more about Lacan himself, his seminars are a fantastic resource. They cover very deep material but are absolutely fascinating to listen to. Here are some links to begin with: the Seminars from 1955-56, 1957-58, 1959-60, 1961-62, 1963-64, and 1967-68.

About Article Author

Linda Meler

Linda Meler is a professional in the field of psychology. She has been working in this field for over two decades and she loves it! She especially enjoys working with clients one-on-one to help them develop strategies for coping with their emotions and improving their mental health.

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