An ethics of the unconscious

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Schwartz, Susan (2012) An ethics of the unconscious. British Journal of Psychotherapy, 28 (2). pp. 221-234. ISSN 0265-9883 (print) 1752-0118 (online)


This paper is written from a Lacanian perspective and considers Lacan's development of his theory of ethics from its origins in Freud's exploration of psychic inscriptions to a notion of ethics oriented to the Real of the unconscious, the Real that is not symbolizable. The aim of analysis is to change the way the subject enjoys his symptom, a change from suffering to a satisfaction that comes from having a choice. Using the conceptual tools of Lacanian psychoanalysis which differentiate between Imaginary (the image and its lures), the Symbolic (the signifier and the structure of language) and the Real (enjoyment in the body that language does not reach), the argument moves beyond an idea of truth attached to meaning. That is the truth that the analyst's interpretation might produce; its beyond is a notion of truth grounded in the enjoyment of the symptom outside meaning, a truth that will allow for an ethics of psychoanalysis that is oriented towards the Real of jouissance by the compass of affect.

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Item type Article
DOI 10.1111/j.1752-0118.2012.01282.x
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Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1103 Clinical Sciences
Historical > FOR Classification > 1701 Psychology
Current > Division/Research > College of Science and Engineering
Keywords ResPubID25534, ethics, psychoanalysis, Freud, Lacan, unconscious, Real, jouissance, truth
Citations in Scopus 1 - View on Scopus
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