The immensely influential work of Jacques Lacan challenges readers both for the difficulty of its style and for the wide range of intellectual references that frame its innovations. Lacan’s work is challenging too, for the way it recentres psychoanalysis on one of the most controversial points of Freud’s theory – the concept of a self-destructive drive or ‘death instinct’. Originally published in 1991, _Death and Desire_ presents in Lacanian terms a new integration of psychoanalytic theory in which the battery of (...) key Freudian concepts – from the dynamics of the Oedipus complex to the topography of ego, id, and superego – are seen to intersect in Freud’s most far-reaching and speculative formulation of a drive toward death. Boothby argues that Lacan repositioned the theme of death in psychoanalysis in relation to Freud’s main concern – the nature and fate of desire. In doing so, Lacan rediscovered Freud’s essential insights in a manner so nuanced and penetrating that prevailing assessments of the death instinct may well have to be re-examined. Although the death instinct is usually regarded as the most obscure concept in Freud’s metapsychology, and Lacan to be the most perplexing psychoanalytic theorist, Richard Boothby’s straightforward style makes both accessible. He illustrates the coherence of Lacanian thought and shows how Lacan’s work comprises a ‘return to Freud’ along new and different angles of approach. Written with an eye to the conceptual structure of psychoanalytic theory, _Death and Desire_ will appeal to psychoanalysts and philosophers alike. (shrink)
Using Jacques Lacan's work as a key, this groundbreaking work reassesses the philosophical significance of Freud's most ambitious general theory of mental functioning: metapsychology. Richard Boothby forcefully argues that this theory has been misunderstood, and that therefore Freud's impact on philosophy has been unjustly muted. Freud as Philosopher illuminates in a fresh and newly accessible way the central points of Freud's metapsychology-including the guiding metaphor of psychical energy and the final, enigmatic theory of the twin drives of life and death-through (...) the three cardinal Lacanian categories of the Imaginary, the Symbolic, and the Real. This exciting and brilliant book will have a definitive impact on how psychoanalysis is conceived in relation to philosophy. (shrink)
Renowned psychoanalytic philosopher Richard Boothby puts forward a novel theory of religion inspired by Jacques Lacan's theory of das Ding. The book offers the theoretical tools for interpreting religious belief and analyzes several faith traditions.
This paper examines the evolution of Jacques Lacan’s concept of mourning from his treatment of Hamlet in Seminar 6, “Desire and Its Interpretation,” to its transformation in the tenth Seminar on “Anxiety.” It is a transformation that occurs in tandem with Lacan’s reconception of anxiety as lack of the lack and his reshaped conception of the objet a as object/cause of desire. The key point is the way that Lacan’s renovated conception upends the common sense notion of mourning, that which (...) assumes that suffering the death of a loved one means accommodating oneself to an absence where there was previously a presence. On the contrary, says Lacan, part of what is most deeply to be mourned is the lack in the Other around which the love relation was constructed. The paper concludes by asking to what extent Lacan’s account of mourning should be distinguished from those of both Hegel and Freud. (shrink)
This paper examines Medard Boss's rejection of the Freudian unconscious. Boss's position is criticized for its failure to do justice to the clinical relevance of the unconscious and to provide adequate answers to key theoretical questions. An alternative approach to the concept of the unconscious is sought in the work of the French analyst, Jacques Lacan.