In this original work of psychoanalytic theory, John Muller explores the formative power of signs and their impact on the mind, the body and subjectivity, giving special attention to work of the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan and the American philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce. Muller explores how Lacan's way of understanding experience through three dimensions--the real, the imaginary and the symbolic--can be useful both for thinking about cultural phenomena and for understanding the complexities involved in treating psychotic patients. Muller develops Lacan's perspective gradually, presenting it as distinctive approaches to data from a variety of sources, such as cognitive, social and developmental psychology, literature, history, art, and psychoanalytic treatment.
The book's first four chapters present Muller's reading of selected data from child development research, psychology and linguistics, approximating a semiotic model of "normal" development. The following three chapters examine in a Lacanian framework the structural basis of psychotic stages as indicative of massive semiotic failure in development. The final chapters on human narcissism suggest reasons that "normal" development may be impossible.
--from the publisher
About the Author:
John P. Muller is Chief Psychologist and Director of Education at The Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, Massachusetts and author (with William J. Richardson) of Lacan and Language: A Reader's Guide to Ecrits .