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Dall’Aglio, J. (2019). Of brains and Borromean knots: A Lacanian meta-neuropsychology. Neuropsychoanalysis, 21(1):23-38.

(2019). Neuropsychoanalysis, 21(1):23-38

Of brains and Borromean knots: A Lacanian meta-neuropsychology

John Dall’Aglio

Meta-psychological bridges between neuroscience and psychoanalysis have focused on Freud’s structural model [Kaplan-Solms & Solms, 2002. Clinical studies in neuro-psychoanalysis: Introduction to a depth neuropsychology (2nd ed.). London: Karnac Books; Solms, 2013. The conscious id. Neuropsychoanalysis, 15(1), 5–19]. While other psychoanalytic schools have been in dialog on specific concepts, alternative full-scale meta-psychologies have received less attention. This paper maps the brain through the Lacanian triad of the real, imaginary, and symbolic. Dynamic localization of these concepts avoids neuro-structural reduction. Right and left cortical hemispheres appear necessary (but not sufficient) for imaginary and symbolic functions respectively, with the frontal lobes underlying social and self-reflective functions. The real is supported by subcortical affective and motivational structures, particularly the automatization of non-representational systems prior to hippocampal development. This project highlights the structural disjuncture (impossibility) which is constitutive of human subjectivity and brain function.

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