The Jouissance Principle

Kant, Sade and Lacan on the Ethical Functioning of the Unconscious
FIERENS Christian
Date publication : 29/11/2021
Dossier : Parutions des membres chez d'autres éditeurs


This book examines the concept of jouissance, a Lacanian term that refers to enjoyment experienced in different ways, from the enjoyment taken in an action that is ethically disapproved to the hidden pleasure taken by the patient in and from his symptom.

Christian Fierens offers a new and rigorous explanation of jouissance as a third principle in the functioning of the unconscious, in addition to the technical and pleasure principles. The Jouissance Principle presents a detailed cross-reading of two key works: Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and Lacan’s paper ‘Kant with Sade’, explaining how the functioning of the unconscious is a genuinely ethical process. The book also focuses on the role of psychoanalysis in relaunching the functioning of the unconscious, outlining the fourth form of Lacan’s object a and its stakes in the psychoanalytic process.

An intriguing discussion of the relationship between pleasure, ethics and rationality, The Jouissance Principle will interest scholars of psychoanalysis and European philosophy, as well as helping clinicians to find a practical and ethical pathway through their practice.


Table of Contents

Introduction: jouissance and the unconscious.  Section I: Reading Kant.  Part I: Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (1785): the moral law. Introduction: the principle as principle.  1. Good will, duty and the moral law: on the basis of popular moral philosophy)  2. Analysis of the moral law: unearthing the metaphysics of morals based on popular moral philosophy).  Part II Critique of Practical Reason (1788): the principle of practical reason. Introduction: the place and structure of practical reason (and of the unconscious).  3. The principle of the autonomy of the moral law (… and of jouissance)  4. The concept of good/evil  5. Respect (Achtung)  6. The necessary articulation of the principle of morality with the pleasure principle.  7. How to promote the principle of the moral law (and of jouissance).  Conclusion of the doctrine of method.  Section II: A reading of Lacan.  Part I: The Ethics of Psychoanalysis (1959–1960): the real.  8. Critique of "ethics" centred on happiness and perfection  9. The hole in reality, the real and the thing  10. The universality of the moral law  11. The human being’s essential relationship to the thing  Part II: “Kant with Sade” (1962–1963): the object a.  12. Introduction to Kant and Sade  13. Sade’s contribution to psychoanalysis  14. Lacan’s struggle against Kant  15. The practice of psychoanalysis Section III: Practice of the unconscious.  16. From one reading the other on Kant and on Lacan  17. The unconscious and the jouissance principle  18. How can the jouissance peculiar to the unconscious be presented?  19. It must be made. The practice of the unconscious.  Conclusion: the jouissance principle and the object a


Christian Fierens is a psychoanalyst and psychiatrist based in Belgium. He holds a PhD on the question of psychosis in Freud’s work and has published several books on Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis, including The Soul of Narcissism (Routledge, 2019).


ISBN 9780367519018
Published November 19, 2021 by Routledge
228 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations

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