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Lacan, Jacques (1901–81)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-DE013-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved March 21, 2018, from

Article Summary

Jacques Lacan was a French psychoanalyst and philosopher whose contribution to philosophy derives from his consistent and thoroughgoing reinterpretation of Freud’s writings in the light of Heidegger and Hegel as well as structuralist linguistics and anthropology. Whereas Freud himself had disparaged philosophical speculation, claiming for himself the mantle of the natural scientist, Lacan demonstrates psychoanalysis to be a rigorous philosophical position. Specifically, Lacan suggests that the Freudian unconscious is best understood as the effect of language (what he calls, ‘the symbolic’) upon human behaviour.

Citing this article:
Brockelman, Thomas. Lacan, Jacques (1901–81), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-DE013-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2018 Routledge.

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