Lacan’s Philosophical Coquetry

  • Tony Cutler
Part of the Language, Discourse, Society Series book series (LDS)


Let us take as our starting-point Freud’s short paper ‘Negation’ (SE xix: 235–9), a paper which provoked a famous exchange between Lacan and the great Hegel scholar Jean Hyppolyte.. (cf. E 369–99 and 879–87). Freud’s paper begins by referring to a common experience in psychoanalysis: the patient’s statement of repressed material in the form of a negative statement:

The manner in which our patients bring forward their associations during the work of analysis gives us an opportunity for making some interesting observations. ‘Now you’ll think I mean to say something insulting, but really I’ve no such intention.’ We realize that this is a rejection, by projection, of an idea that has just come up. Or: ‘You ask who this person in the dream can be. It’s not my mother.’ We emend this to: ‘So it is his mother’. In our interpretation, we take the liberty of disregarding the negation and of picking out the subject-matter alone of the association. (SE xix: 235)


Diagnostic Category Sexual Object Latent Material Philosophical Concept Pleasure Principle 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1981

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  • Tony Cutler

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