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French: refente
Sigmund Freud[edit | edit source]
Splitting of the Ego[edit | edit source]

Freud talks about the "splitting of the ego" (Gr. Ich-spaltung, Fr. clivage du moi) as a process -- observable in fetishism and psychosis -- whereby two contradictory attitudes come to exist side by side in the ego -- acceptance and disavowal.<ref>Freud, Sigmund. "Splitting of the Ego in the Process of Defence." SE XXIII, 1938. p. 273</ref>

Jacques Lacan[edit | edit source]
Split Subject[edit | edit source]

Lacan expands the concept of Spaltung -- from a process unique to fetishism or psychosis -- to a general characteristic of subjectivity itself; the subject can never be anything other than split -- divided and alienated from himself.

The split is irreducible, can never be healed; there is no possibility of synthesis.

Barred Subject[edit | edit source]
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The split or divided subject is symbolised by the bar which strikes through the S to produce the barred subject, StrikeS.gif.<ref>Lacan, Jacques. Écrits: A Selection. Trans. Alan Sheridan. London: Tavistock Publications, 1977. p. 288</ref>

Self-Consciousness[edit | edit source]

The split denotes the impossibility of the ideal of a fully present self-consciousness.

The subject will never know himself completely, but will always be cut off from his own knowledge.

Unconscious[edit | edit source]

It thus indicates the presence of the unconscious, and is an effect of the signifier.

Speech[edit | edit source]

The subject is split by the very fact that he is a "speaking being,"<ref>Lacan, Jacques. Écrits: A Selection. Trans. Alan Sheridan. London: Tavistock Publications, 1977. p. 269</ref> because speech divides the subject of the enunciation from the subject of the statement.

Truth and Knowledge[edit | edit source]

In his seminar of 1964-5 Lacan theorises the split subject in terms of a division between truth and knowledge (savoir).<ref>Lacan, Jacques. Écrits. Paris: Seuil, 1966. p. 856</ref>

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References[edit | edit source]