Tagged: My Papers

Gestalt Psychology

WHAT IS GESTALT THEORY? Gestalt psychology (sometimes also “gestaltism”) is a theory of mind created by the Berlin School of Experimental Psychology in the first decades of the 20th century. The German word “Gestalt” means shape, or form. Gestalt psychology tries to understand the laws that govern the human ability to acquire and maintain perceptions of meaning in a chaotic world. Gestalt psychologists believe that the mind actively shapes perceptions, and aims to form units, or “gestalts.” For example, when we hear a melody we can remember it, and recognize it even if it is not played at the same...

Transference in Freud and Lacan

What is “transference”? “Transference” is a psychoanalytic term that refers to something that is very common in daily life: People displace unresolved conflicts, dependencies, and aggressions onto others (e.g. substituting a lover, spouse, etc. for one’s parent) for reasons that are not easily understandable. This operation occurs commonly in psychotherapy when a client transfers feelings that were previously directed to someone else to the therapist. The client sees in her therapist the return of some important figure from her childhood or past and consequently transfers on to him feelings and reactions from the past. Early childhood relationships, memories, and emotions,...

Poetry, Nature, Thought. Rilke’s Late Poetry.

And we, spectators always, everywhere, turned towards everything, and never towards the open. It fills us. We arrange it. It decays. We arrange it again, and decay ourselves. Und wir: Zuschauer, immer, überall, dem allen zugewandt und nie hinaus! Uns überfüllts. Wir ordnens. Es zerfällt. Wir ordnens wieder und zerfallen selbst. The German poet Rainer Maria Rilke wrote these lines in 1922; they are a part of the eighth Duino Elegy. It describes us humans as spectators. We are turned towards life, hungry for experience and excitement, but we don’t want to look at ourselves, and we resist change, even...

My Papers

The essays in this section address philosophical questions that have interested me for a long time. The philosophy and psychology of religion, The relationship between thinking and reality, The nature of knowledge, or epistemology. What is thinking, and what is so unique about the human subject? Literature and Philosophy. With the exception of the Rilke paper, all essays were written around the time of my dissertation research. My dissertation at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley was entitled “The Psychoanalytic View of Religion in Freud and Lacan.” (2001) The essays are sorted by date of creation. Below you find short...

Thinking and Being: Lacan versus Parmenides

When Lacan describes his epistemology, he occasionally alludes to Parmenides, whose philosophy marks the beginning of the reflection on being in Western thinking. ’There’s no such thing as a metalanguage.’ When I say that, it apparently means — no language of being. But is there being? As I pointed out last time, what I say is what there isn’t. Being is, as they say, and nonbeing is not. There is or there isn’t. Being is merely pre­sumed in certain words — “individual,” for instance, and “substance.” In my view, it is but a fact of what is said (un fait de dit). The word “subject” that...

Subject, Ego, Person

This short essay, written in August and September 2001, could also be entitled “The Religious Roots of  Our Concept of the Person.” I argue that: we need to make a distinction between “something” and “someone;” this was done in the past through a religious definition of the origin of the human being; it has been secularized into the concept of the person, The term expresses the internal relationship of “having a nature.” Therefore we are not just “something”, we are “someone,” and as such not entirely subjected to nature. Since the distinction itself is not natural, it works only if...

Reason and the Subject of Philosophy

Philosophie, die einmal überholt schien, erhält sich am Leben, weil der Augenblick ihrer Verwirklichung versäumt ward. (Philosophy, which once seemed obsolete, lives on because the moment to realize it was missed.) (Theodor Adorno) REASON AND THE SUBJECT OF PHILOSOPHY. Truth kills, Nietzsche once advised philosophers, and he added: indeed, it kills itself.[1] We always knew that the voice of reason is, at best, a whisper in human affairs, but Nietzsche is the first philosopher to tell us that it is the voice of a suicidal subject. Is it only fin-de-siècle European pessimism (justified, we might add, from a later vantage point) or...