Towards Pipol 9, The unconscious and the brain, nothing in common, The argument by Yves Vanderveken : 22nd November 2018

by Julia Evans on November 22, 2018

Towards Pipol 9 :  5th European Congress of Psychoanalysis : July 13th– 14th 2019 : Brussels : The unconscious and the brain, nothing in common

The argument by Yves Vanderveken – Director of the 5th Congress of the EuroFederation of Psychoanalysis, PIPOL 9

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Circulated by EuroFederation of Psychoanalysis as Pipol 9 – The Argument on  22 November 2018 at 22:11:51 GMT

Further texts by Yves Vanderveken here 


For information see Seminar X: The Anxiety (or Dread): 1962-1963: begins 14th November 1962: Jacques Lacan    or here

– All fields of the human, including art, are now summoned by the neuro-paradigm. The child – the elective object of education – is its first target. But given that childhood today is widely extended, it is the speaking being as a whole that is concerned. Nothing is left here of the outside the field of learning [Reference 10.]  : Seminar X : p291 of Adrian Price’s translation :

Seminar X : 12th June 1963 : pXXII 202-203 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation : We will return to this language of the child. I pointed out to you that the new evidence of original works, which one can only be astonished were not performed up to now, allows us now to grasp in statu nascendithe first operation of the signifier in these hypnopompic monologues of the very small child, almost two years old, and to grasp in them – I will read you these texts at the proper time – in the fascinating form of the Oedipus complex itself here and now; already articulated, giving here the experimental proof of the idea that I always put forward to you that the unconscious is essentially the effect of the signifier.

I will finish in this connection with the position of the psychologists, for the work that I am speaking to you about is prefaced by a psychologist who is very attractive at first sight in the sense that he admits that it has never happened that a psychologist has interested himself in these functions starting from, he tells us – a psychologist’s own admission – from the supposition that nothing interesting is notable about the coming into play of language in the subject, except at the level of education: in effect it is something that is learned. But what makes language, outside the field of learning? It required the suggestion of a linguist for an interest to begin to be taken in it, and we believe that here the psychologist lays down his arms. For it is certainly with some humour that he highlights this deficit in psychological research up to now.

Well that is not at all the case. At the end of his preface, he makes two remarks which show the point to which the habit of the psychologist is really inveterate. The first is that, since this constitutes a volume of about three hundred pages and is a considerable weight since these monologues were collected for a month and a complete chronological list of them was made, at this rate of going think of all the research that we are going to have to do! This is the first remark.

And the second one is even better. It is extremely interesting to note all that; but it seems to me for my part, says this psychologist who is called George Miller, that the only thing that would be interesting, is to know: “How much of that does he know?” What does the child know about what is telling you? Now it is precisely there that the question lies. It is precisely, if he does not know what he is saying, that it is very important to note that he says all the same, what he will know or will not know later on, namely the elements of the Oedipus complex.


– The ideology of the cipher and the neuro-paradigm found discourses without a beyond, which produce a semantic vacuity. As Lacan points out, “the progress of science makes the function of cause fade away” [Reference 11,]   : Seminar X p284 of Adrian Price’s translation :

Seminar X : 12th June 1963 : pXXII 199 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation : Desire taken in this perspective is situated in effect essentially as a lack of effect. The cause is thus constituted as supposing the effects of the fact that primordially the effect is lacking there. And this is rediscovered, you will rediscover it, in every phenomenonology. The gap between cause and effect, in the measure that it is filled – this indeed is what is called in a certain perspective the progress of science – makes the function of the cause vanish, I mean there where it is filled. Moreover the explanation of anything whatsoever culminates in the measure that it is completed, in leaving only signifying connections, in volatilising what animated it at its origin, what was pushing to be explained, namely what one does not understand, namely the effective gap. And there is no cause which is constituted in the mind as such, which does not imply this gap. All of this may seem to you quite superfluous. Nevertheless this is what allows there to be grasped what I would call the naivety of some of the research done by psychologists and specifically that of Piaget.


– in the sense that what is produced is a: “it means something”, there where “the subject’s implication in his conduct is broken off.”[Reference 12] [Seminar X p281 of Adrian Price’s translation : Seminar X : 12th June 1963] They are congruent in this regard with the loss of meaning, moral values and of practices that are based on the search for a truth. We see their effects unfolding every day. :

Seminar X : 12th June 1963 : pXXII 196 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation : In order for the symptom to emerge from the state of an as yet unformulated enigma, the step is not that it should be formulated, it is that in the subject something should be outlined whose character is that it is suggested to him that there is a cause for that. This is the original dimension taken on here in the form of the phenomenon, and I will show you besides where one can rediscover it. This dimension – that there is a cause for that – in which simply the implication of the subject in his behaviour is broken, this rupture is the necessary complement for the symptom to be approachable by us. What I intend to say to you and to show you, is that this sign does not constitute a step in what I could call the understanding of the situation, that it is something more, that there is a reason why this step is essential in the treatment of the obsessional.


Further texts by Yves Vanderveken here

Note : If links to any required text do not work, check If a particular text or book remains absent, contact Julia Evans


Julia Evans

Practicing Lacanian Psychoanalyst, London


Other texts

Decided Desires and Joyful Passions in Democracy : 18th November 2017 (Turin) : Éric Laurent or here

New incarnations of the desire for democracy in Europe : 31st October 2017 : Éric Laurent or here

Racism 2.0 : 26th January 2014 : Éric Laurent or here

▪ Le sac de nœuds – Chronicle of Éric Laurent ▪ The Tracery of Incarnation LQ 96 : 22nd November 2011 or here

& The Stepladder (Escabeau) and Freudian Sublimation. From forcing to manipulation : A reading of «Joyce the Symptom» : (Paris) 3rd February 2015 : Éric Laurent or here

& “The Unconscious is Politics”, today : LQ518 (Lacan Quotidien 518) : May 2015 : Éric Laurent or here

Texts on ‘The Symbolic Order in the XXIst Century’ here

Ethics here

Definitions of humanness here  & here

Of the clinic here

On Ordinary Psychosis here

On Lacanian History here

Use of power here

Lacanian Transmission : here

Some Lacanian History : here

Topology : here

From LW working groups : here

By Sigmund Freud here

Notes on texts by Sigmund Freud : here

By Jacques Lacan here

Notes on texts by Jacques Lacan here

By Julia Evans here