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Patsalides, B. Patsalides, A. (2001). “Butterflies Caught in the Network of Signifiers” The Goals of Psychoanalysis According to Jacques Lacan. Psychoanal Q., 70(1):201-230.

(2001). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 70(1):201-230

“Butterflies Caught in the Network of Signifiers” The Goals of Psychoanalysis According to Jacques Lacan

Beatrice Patsalides, Ph.D. and André Patsalides, Ph.D.

Once upon a time, I, Chuang-tse, dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was Chuang. Soon I awaked, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.

—Chuang-tse (c. 275 B.C.)


In 1975, when Jacques Lacan stepped for the last time on American soil to lecture on psychoanalysis to the American public, his reflections on the topic had matured during almost forty years of teaching and practice. Although changed in content and focus during his theoretical moves away from phenomenology to structuralism and beyond, his considerations of the “psychoanalytic cure” remained quite similar.

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