<history of philosophy, biography> French psychoanalyst (1901-1981) whose The Language of the Self: The Function of Language in Psychoanalysis (1959) modified Freudian psychology's analysis of human sexuality by proposing that the individual unconscious is represented most accurately in linguistic and rhetorical structures like metonymy and metaphor, which disrupt the flow of ordinary communication and reveal a repressed message. Relying upon the imaginary and the symbolic, Lacan supposed, each person endeavors to establish not only working relationships with other people but also some accomodation with the insatiable desires of the Other, expressed in dreams. Lacan's analytic theory and practice, as expressed in The Ethics of Psychoanalysis (1960) and The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis (1964), were an influence (both positive and negative) on the philosophical work of Foucault, Derrida, and Irigaray. Recommended Reading: Jacques Lacan, On Feminine Sexuality, the Limits of Love and Knowledge, ed. by Jacques-Alain Miller (Norton, 1999); Joel Dor, Introduction to the Reading of Lacan: The Unconscious Structured Like a Language (Other Press, 1998); Introducing Lacan, ed. by Darian Leader, Judy Groves, and Richard Appignanesi (Totem, 2000); Elisabeth Roudinesco, Jacques Lacan, tr. by Barbara Bray (Columbia, 1999); and Dylan Evans, An Introductory Dictionary of Lacanian Psychoanalysis (Routledge, 1996).
[A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names]
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