Philadelphia Lacan Study Group

Wednesday, December 2, 2020


“These days we know less about the feeling of hatred than in times when man was more open to his destiny….These days subjects do not have to shoulder the burden of experience of hatred in its most consuming forms. And why? Because our civilization is itself sufficiently one of hatred. Isn’t the path for the race to destruction really rather well marked out for us? Hatred is clothed in our everyday discourse under many guises, it meets with such extraordinary easy rationalizations.”
Jacques Lacan, The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book I: Freud’s Papers on Technique.

Now more than ever, when the United States is reckoning with racism, the Lacanian notion of the act resonates with its ethical implications, first by assuming responsibility for the unconscious determinations of one’s position. Lacan offers a controversial formula for analytic training: “The analyst’s authorization derives from her— or himself alone.” The self-authorization of the analyst does not mean that anyone can become an analyst but it entails a passage, a transformative crossing that causes a subjective change, a process linked to transference and not to bureaucracy. Self-authorization, placed in an area of ambiguity between author (the creator of a work) and authority (an agent of power), reveals a desire that does not fully depend on the Other. In 1974, Lacan reformulates this idea when he specifies that analysts authorize themselves with “some others”. He thus extends the idea of the analyst’s self-authorization by stating that one’s authorization as a sexed being comes from oneself. Why is the radical principle of self-authorization underpinning the training of psychoanalysts applied to matters of sexual identity? Is Lacan putting forward a new ethics of sexual difference? What are the implications for the transmission of psychoanalysis?

The reading seminars are an open forum for the discussion of psychoanalysis. Curated by Patricia Gherovici. Seminars are free and open to all. Reading list? Questions? Email:

WHERE? This meeting will take place online (Zoom). Email: for connection details.
WHEN? Wednesday November 18, 2020 7:00 to 8:30 pm EDT