The Lacanian Subject
Many times in our lives we want to do or have something so bad, but something inside of ourselves seems to stop us. But who is it that stops us from, "finishing a degree", "finding love", "parting with our lovers", or "finding a job"? Jacques Lacan offers us an intriguing answer to these questions – it is the subject of the unconscious. In this lecture series, we will try and understand who is the subject of the unconscious in psychoanalysis. Through the mechanism of repression, and the initial split between conscious and unconscious, through ego and libido development, the mirror stage, and the differentiation between neurosis and psychosis, we will try and see what Lacan says about the subject.
A learning module with Shachar Leon Brenner
Tuesdays (October 10, 17, 24, November 7), 19:00 – 20:30
Lecture I: Repression and the subject of the unconscious
Tuesday, October 10, 19:00 – 20:30
Repression might be the most fundamental mechanism in the history of psychoanalysis. More than defining it as a defense mechanism, it is considered to constitute the structure of our subjectivity by marking a division between the conscious and unconscious. In this lecture, we will try and understand the progression of the concept of repression in psychoanalysis. From Freud's initial definition of repression as a neurotic defense to Lacan's analysis of repression in the constitution of the subject of the unconscious. How can the subject be split between the conscious and the unconscious and yet not be divided? What is repressed in repression? Does every subject repress? What is the "return of the repressed"? We will try and see the function of repression in everything that is human experience.
Lecture II: Ego, Libido, and the Sexuated Subject
Tuesday, October 17, 19:00 – 20:30
The theory of the subject in psychoanalysis is accompanied by the theory of ego and libidinal development. Freud has described several stages in this development of the ego, and attributed them to several stages in the development of the sexual drive. In this lecture, we will try and understand the theory of ego and libidinal development and its relation to the constitution of the subject in psychoanalysis. From auto-eroticism to narcissism and object love, we will try and understand the ways in which the subject is situated in the world as a sexuated being. We will demonstrate how a fixation on a specific stage of ego and libidinal development can foreshadow the subject's unique mental structure, and define its personality and capacity for love.
Lecture III: The Mirror Stage
Tuesday, October 24, 19:00 – 20:30
The mirror stage is Lacan's most famous conception in the English speaking world. Based on a subversive lecture given at the Fourteenth International Psychoanalytical Congress in 1936, the mirror stage has developed along Lacan's teaching up to his latest seminars. The mirror stage conveys Lacan's attempt to reconceptualize a large portion of the Freudian theory, especially in relation to the initial constitution of the subject and the stages of ego and libidinal development. It incorporates Lacan's unique elaboration of the three registers of the symbolic, real and imaginary, and emphasizes the role of the symbolic Other in every person's initial subjective structure. In this lecture we will try and understand the intricacies of this conception, emphasizing its explanatory strength in our understanding of the subject in psychoanalysis.
Lecture IV: The Subject in Neurosis and Psychosis
Tuesday, November 7, 19:00 – 20:30
Lacan's theory of the subject does not only deal with the constitution of the subject, it also offers several structures through which the subject can be related to clinically. Taking root in Freud, Lacan offers three such subjective structure in the clinic of the 20th century – the neurotic, perverse and psychotic subject. In this lecture, we will try and elaborate on two of these structures – the neurotic and psychotic structures. Branching from the theory of repression and the understanding of ego and libidinal development, we will try and differentiate the two, providing a clearer picture as to their way of being. Through their relation to language, to the Other, and the mirror, we will mark a structural distinction that will put the many symptoms – neurotic and psychotic – in a new perspective.
Shachar Leon Brenner is a Ph.D. student in TAU and a guest scholar at the FU institute of philosophy in Berlin. Brenner has a B.A. in Psychology and Philosophy and graduated Summa Cum Laude his masters degrees in philosophy. His thesis paper concerned Alain Badiou’s theory of subjectivity and love. Brenner has received two excellence awards as a junior teacher at TAU - the University Rector excellence award, and the Deanship excellence award. Currently engaged as a teacher at “The Dov Lautman Unit for Science Oriented Youth” (NPO), and at the department of philosophy. Brenner specializes in the fields of Lacanian psychoanalysis, contemporary French philosophy, and epistemology. Currently, his dissertation concerns the subject of autism in philosophy.
More of Brenner in his blog: