The Cybernetic Unconscious

Lydia H. Liu

in The Freudian Robot

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780226486826
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226486840 | DOI:
The Cybernetic Unconscious

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This chapter focuses on the work of Jacques Lacan and his 1954–55 seminars. It proposes a new interpretation of Lacan's theory of language and the symbolic chain and his notion of the unconscious by investigating the intellectual provenance of French theory typically associated with this central figure. Lacan's reinterpretation of Freud must be significantly rethought in tandem with what he had learned about game theory, cybernetics, and information theory when these theories were systematically imported to France from the United States. The use of writing espoused by John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern to generate strategic moves in game theory was taken up by Lacan to think about the function of the psychic machine of the unconscious. This psychoanalytical work provides some unusual insights about the cybernetic unconscious of the postwar Euro-American world order.

Keywords: cybernetic unconscious; Jacques Lacan; theory of language; Sigmund Freud; game theory; psychic machine

Chapter.  20508 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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