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Sartre, Lacan, and the Ethics of Psychoanalysis

A Defense of Lacanian Responsibility

Blake Scott

Abstract

In this article, I reconsider the philosophical significance of Jacques Lacan’s reading of Freud in light of Jean-Paul Sartre’s early critique of Freudian psychoanalysis. Since direct comparisons between the work of Sartre and Lacan are sparse in the English literature, Betty Cannon’s comprehensive treatment proves to be an invaluable resource in opening up this line of inquiry. I claim that one reason for the limited attention given to comparisons of their work is the continued strength of the polemics between humanism and structuralism. Lacan’s structuralism is regularly indicted by humanists for failing to provide a conception of subjective responsibility in the way that Sartre’s humanism does. Taking Cannon’s ­critique of Lacanian psychoanalysis on this issue as a point of departure, I argue that a conception of subjective responsibility can be found throughout Lacan’s work, serving as a point of common ground upon which further inquiry—particularly of Sartre’s later work—might begin.

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From Perception to Action

Sartre's Practical Phenomenology

Blake D. Scott

Abstract

This paper re-examines the well-known problem of how it is possible to have an “intuition of absences” in Sartre's example of Pierre. I argue that this problem is symptomatic of an overly theoretical interpretation of Sartre's use of intentionality. First, I review Husserl's notion of evidence within his phenomenology. Next, I introduce Sartre's Pierre example and highlight some difficulties with interpreting it as a problem of perception. By focusing on Sartre's notion of the project, I argue instead that the problem is better understood at the level of action. In support of this interpretation, I conclude with a brief comparison to the early work of Paul Ricoeur. By borrowing some of Ricoeur's phenomenological vocabulary tailored to action, I reinterpret Sartre's example as a practical problem.