Lacan, Freud, and Bullshit


“I wanted to begin with an aphorism which, I hope, will strike you by its obviousness, because it’s the reason that Freud has carried the day despite the protestations that greeted his entry into the world of commerce of ideas. What carried the day is this – Freud doesn’t bullshit. This is what gives him this sort of priority he has in our day. It’s probably also what makes it the case that there is another who, as we know, survives fairly despite everything. What is characteristic of the two of them, Freud and Marx, is that they don’t bullshit” (Book XVII, 70-1).

While I can agree with Lacan on Freud and Marx, am I the only one who senses the irony of these comments? Doesn’t Lacan make an entire career out of bullshitting? He spends the majority of his seminars telling dirty jokes, making puns, circling again and again around points. I’m not accusing him of being a charlatan like Chomsky¬†once did, but isn’t there some sort of positive role that bullshit serves in Lacan’s theory?


3 Responses to “Lacan, Freud, and Bullshit”

  1. Dave Mesing Says:

    I agree that Lacan is a bullshitter, maybe moreso than someone like Marx (although I don’t mean this derogatively).

    Just curious in what sense you mean that Chomsky is a charlatan? I’m not very familiar with him.

  2. Jeremy Says:

    I apologize for the confuson. Chomsky once called Lacan a self-conscious charlatan.

  3. Dave Mesing Says:

    No worries, I thought it might have something more to do with a criticism of Chomsky’s ideas or actions (in a more general sense).

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