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Moss, D. (1990). Thoughts on Two Seminars of Jacques Lacan, with a Focus on their Difficulty. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 71:701-713.

(1990). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 71:701-713

Thoughts on Two Seminars of Jacques Lacan, with a Focus on their Difficulty

Donald Moss


This essay is an attempt to look at two early seminars of Jacques Lacan. Although there is some effort at direct explication of those seminars, the primary approach is indirect. The seminars pose a variety of daunting difficulties to a psychoanalytic reader. The effort is to put these difficulties to use, to treat them not as impediments to understanding, but as clues, to be taken as integral elements of the texts themselves.

These difficulties are indeed intrinsic to Lacan. The very category of a simple, transparent, text is often the object of his systematic critique. Lacan conceptualizes such a text, and what can be seen as its subjective correlate, the conflict-free sphere of the ego, as intellectual constructs which can only exist within a Cartesian set of co-ordinates. Lacan argues that the Freudian unconscious radically supplants those Cartesian co-ordinates. His seminars and his entire body of written work seek a vocabulary and syntax of argument which are true to what he takes to be the epistomological requirements of what he calls the 'Freudian Revolution'.

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