Jammed Machines and Contingently Fit Animals: Psychoanalysis's Biological Paradox

Posted by stefano
TitleJammed Machines and Contingently Fit Animals: Psychoanalysis's Biological Paradox
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsFranchi, S
JournalFrench Literature Studies
Paginationin press

The paper focuses on the relationship between psychoanalysis and biology in Freud and in Lacan. They both see the human organism as a homeostatic device seeking to minimize the pressure exerted by the environment. While Freud argues that ego-based defensive processes are essentially adaptive, Lacan sees human homeostasis as structurally failing. However, they both see animals as perfectly adapted to their environment. I argue that the theoretical difficulties affecting Lacanian theory can be removed by rejecting the thesis of perfect animal fitness shared by Freud and Lacan. It is possible to remove the theory’s incompatibility with evolutionary biology and its promotion of an empty voluntarism of despair by adopting a notion of fitness based upon the essential contingency of adaptation and the possibility of partial or mis-adaptations as constitutive possibilities of evolutionary history.

FLS 38 14 - Stefano Franchi.pdf646.29 KB

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