New Foundations for Psychoanalysis

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In a study of the various foundations that have been proposed for psychoanalysis Jean Laplanche aims to demonstrate that it cannot be epistemologically grounded in either biology, phylogenesis, mechanics or linguistics. These disciplines are the background against which it emerges in an inaugural gesture which captures something of the emergence of the human being. Returning to the founding moment of psychoanalysis, Laplanche then elaborates a general theory of seduction, in which seduction is seen as neither an encounter with a perverse father nor a surrender to an attentive mother, but as a primal encounter with an enigmatic signifier. This encounter can be reactivated in the process of analysis, allowing the enigmatic quality of the signifier to be transcended and a translation-based theory of repression to emerge.