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Logic of Phantasy 18

Jacques Lacan

雅克 拉岡

Lacan Seminar 14:

The Logic of Fantasy 5


Seminar 5: Wednesday, December 14, 1966

But, moreover, this of course is only a step along the road, after which there opens out a parenthesis, to

give you all the motives for this that would allow me, thus, to specify the interpretation-effect. You should

clearly understand that I said truth-effect, that the truth of the interpretation can in no way be prejudged,

I mean, whether, until further notice, the index "true" or "false", may or not be affected to the signifier of

interpretation itself.




This signifier up to now was only an additional signifier or even a signifier too many, as such, signifying,

until it arrives, some lack, some lack, precisely, as lacking in the Universe of discourse. I only said one

thing, which is that the effect is going to be a truth-effect. But it is not for nothing either that I put forward

certain things, as I am able, each one in its turn, as one sometimes pushes a flock of sheep.




And that if, last time, I made the remark, the remark that in the order of implication, qua material

implication, namely, in so far as there exists what is called the consequence in the signifying chain,

which means nothing other than antecedent and consequent, protasis and apodisis, and that I pointed

out to you that there is no obstacle to a premise being false provided its conclusion is true, for it to be

classified with the index of truth.




Suspend your spirit, then, on what I called the truth-effect, until we know a little bit (14) more about it,

are able to say a little bit more certainly what is involved in the function of interpretation.



Now, we are going to be led simply, today, to produce something that concerns the cogito. The

Cartesian cogito, in the sense that you know it, is not all that simple, since among the people who

devote to the work of Descartes - or who have devoted - their existence, there remain very large

divergences, as regards the way in which it ought to be interpreted and commentated.




Am I going or am I doing up to the moment something which would consist in involving myself, I, a

specialist .. non-specialist (laughter), or a specialist in something else, involve myself in Cartesian




Naturally, after all, I have as much right to it as anybody else. I mean that the Discourse on method, or

the Meditations are addressed to me as much as to anyone. And that it is appropriate for me, on any

point that is being dealt with, to question myself about the function of the ergo, for example, in the

cogito, ergo sum. I mean that I am permitted, as much as any one else, to highlight that in the Latin

translation that Descartes gives of the Discourse on method, very precisely in 1644, there appears, as a

translation of the Je pense, donc je suis: Ergo sum sive existo; and on the other hand, in the

Meditations, in the second meditation and, just after, he feels some enthusiasm, he compares to the

point of Archimedes, this point from which one may expect so much, he says: "If I have only touched, if I

have only invented (invenero), this minimum, which includes something certain and unshakeable

(certum et inconcussum)", that it is in the same text that he formulates (this formula which is not

absolutely identical): Ergo sum, ego existo.




1644年,有一本 Je pense, donc je suis: Ergo sum sive existo 的翻译本。在另一方面,在「沉思录」,在第




And that, finally, in the Principles of the search for truth by natural light, it is: dubito ergo sum; which for

the psychoanalyst has a completely different resonance - but a resonance in which I will not try today to

engage myself in, it is too slippery a terrain, to ... (with the current habits, those which allow people to

steak about M Robbe-Grillet by applying to rim the grid of obsessional neurosis) (laughter) -presents for

psychoanalysts too many dangers of tripping up, or even of ridicule, for me to go far in this sense.





But on the contrary, I underline that what is involved for us is something which offers us a certain choice.

The choice that I am making, on this occasion, is the following: to leave in suspense everything that a

logician may bring up in terms of questions around the cogito ergo sum. Namely, the order of implication

that is involved. If it is simply material implication, you see where that leads us. If it is material

implication - according to the formula that I wrote the last time on the board (and that I do not mind (15)

writing again provided I am given the space) - it is uniquely in the measure that the second proposition

of implication - I am - would be false in so far as the therefore indicates it, that the link of implication

between the two terms could be rejected. In other words, the only important thing is to know whether if

the I am is true, there would be any difficulty in the I think being false - I am saying: for the formula to be

acceptable qua implication.








I think: it is me who says it. After all, it may be that I believe that I am thinking, but that I am not thinking.

This even happens every day to many people. Since implication, that is - which I repeat, in pure and

simply implication, the one that is called material implication - requires only one thing: that the

conclusion should be true.




In other words, logic including a reference to the functions of truth, in establishing the table in a certain

number of matrices, can only define - in order to remain consistent with itself - can only define certain

operations as implications, by admitting them as functions which would be still better named:

consequences. Consequences only meaning by that the following: the breadth of the field in which, in a

signifying chain, we can put the connotation of truth. We can put the connotation of truth on the liaison of

a false first of all, subsequently of a true and not the inverse.





This, of course - it is certain -leaves us far from the order of what has to be said about the Cartesian

cogito as such, in its proper order, which no doubt implies, involves, the constitution of the subject as

such. Namely, complicates what is involved in writing qua regulating the functioning of the logical

operation, goes beyond it precisely in the fact that this writing itself, no doubt, here only represents a

more primordial functioning of something which, from this point of view, deserves indeed for us to be

posited as a function of writing, in as far as it is on it that there depends the veritable status of the

subject and not on his intuition of being the one-who-thinks.






An intuition justified by what, if not by something that at this moment is profoundly hidden from him.


Namely, what does he want in seeking this certainty on this terrain of progressive evacuation, of

cleaning up, of sweeping away everything that is within his reach concerning the function of knowledge.

And then, after all, what is this cogito?


用所能掌握的东西,他到底「想要」什麽? 畢竟,这个「我思」是什麽?

Ago: I push, (as I was speaking about it earlier - my sheep: this forms part of my work when I am here, it

is not necessarily the same when I am all alone nor when I am in (16) my analyst's chair).



Cogo: I push together.


Cogito: all that is being stirred up!


When all is said and done, if there were not this desire of Descartes which orients this cogitation in such

decisive fashion, we could translate the cogito, as one can translate it after all, wherever cogitating goes

on, one could translate it as I am fiddling!..




Why cogito and not puto, for example, which has also a sense in Latin. This even means: to prune:

which, for us analysts, has little resonances ... anyway, puto ergo sum would have perhaps a different

core, a different style, perhaps different consequences. We do not know if he had begun by pruning -

really in the sense of pruning – he would perhaps, at the end, have pruned God! While with cogito it is

something different.





And, moreover, cogito ... cogito is written, first of all, if we have noticed that cogito could be written with

respect to the total formula: Cogito: "ergo sum", it is here indeed that we can grasp again the intuition

and have it grasped that some ... content, this liquid which fills, which derives from ...- properly: from

structure - from the apparatus of language.