In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • The Intimate Alterity of the RealA Response to Reader Commentary on “History and the Real” (PMC v.5 n.2)
  • Charles Shepherdson

To: Dr. Shepherdson
From: (Hector Escobar Sotomayor)
Subject: Comments on your paper in Internet about Foucault and Lacan

Dear Dr. Shepherdson:

I’m a Mexican student of Philosophy and now I’m working on my thesis devoted to an archaeological study of Psychology, considering the relation Foucault-Lacan so I’d like to get in contact with you and to interchange ideas. If you like, I could send you a copy of my thesis (in paper or by e-mail) (it’s in Spanish). My proposition is that according to Foucault in The order of things we have reached a new epistemic period that can be defined as a Postanthropologic one, in which is neccesary to leave the notion of the human being and replace it with the notion of the Subject of Desire. The importance of Lacan’s work is obvious mainly in his idea of Jouissance (“Goce” in Spanish), which opens a new line of philosophical arguments.

Please, as you can see, my written English is not very good, but I think we could establish a communication. My adress is

Thank you very much for your attention

PMC Reader’s Report on Shepherdson’s article on “History and the Real”:

Dear Mr. Shepherdson:

I’m a psychoanalyst and I’m on my way to mastering desire [in] psychoanalytical theory. I read you paper “History and the Real” and really “enjoyed” it, even knowing very little about Foucault. But there’s one thing that called my attention in such a special way, that I want to discuss it with you:

Under your topic nr. 42, you wrote: “(. . .) the element of lack that destablizes the structural, symbolic totality.”

It then seemed to me (I may be wrong) that you suggest that the structure (and this must be a subjective structure) has something out of it which causes a kind of effect on it somehow. I’ve found close concepts to this (which I’m not sure if it is what you intended at all) [in] many earlier Lacanian authors.

Now, this is a very hot question. For me, it is much easier to understand the cause for the structure as being the structure itself; in other words, what is prohibited is part of the structure, and what makes the prohibition be is also a part of the structure. The lack of the structure is also [in] the structure and, futher, it’s only because of its lack that the structure can be . . . (I’m not being original at this point: I think you know G. Deleuze’s paper “On quoi reconnait-on le structuralisme?”).

Well, I also must say that this interests me because I didn’t find any answer which could be conclusive. What do you think about that?


Marcus Lopes

Dear Mr. Lopes:

Thank you for your questions on my article “History and the Real,” which Postmodern Culture recently forwarded to me. It is always interesting to me to hear from practicing psychoanalysts, and from others in the medical profession who have an interest in Lacanian theory. In the United States, of course, interest in Lacan has mainly arisen through philosophy, or literary theory and cultural studies, so it is not always recognized that in Europe and South America — as well as in Australia and Mexico — Lacan has a much greater impact on clinical circles. I say this only because, if you are looking for clinical material, there is much more information in French and Spanish than in English. But I am grateful for your question, and I will do my best with it, because it gives me a chance to try to clarify — even for myself — a difficult and important issue.

You asked in your letter about the concept of the “real,” and especially about its relation to the symbolic order. You say I suggested that the real is “outside” the symbolic structure: “the structure (and this must be a subjective structure) has something out of it which causes a kind...

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