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Having A Life by Lewis A. Kirshner

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2 The Psychoanalytic Subject

In the term subject ... I am not designating the living substratum needed by this phenomenon of the subject, nor any sort of substance, nor any being possessing knowledge in his pathos ... but the Cartesian subject, who appears at the moment when doubt is recognized as certainty.

—Jacques Lacan

LACAN'S WORK IN MANY WAYS REVOLVED AROUND THE ISSUE OF THE STATUS of "the subject"—the Cartesian subject, who self-consciously knows he exists. But he was not unique during his time in wanting to refocus psychoanalysis on questions of identity, self, and existence, as so diverse a group as Erikson, Winnicott, and Kohut demonstrates. The commonly voiced criticism that Lacan was behaving more like a philosopher than a psychoanalyst ...

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