Dylan Evans: "Lacan's ideas are hopelessly inadequate because they are predicated on a false theory of human nature."

“As I became more familiar with Lacan's teachings, the internal contradictions and lack of external confirmation became ever more apparent. And as I tried to make sense of Lacan's bizarre rhetoric, it became clearer to me that the obfuscatory language did not hide a deeper meaning, but was in fact a direct manifestation of the confusion inherent in Lacan's own thought. But whereas most of Lacan's commentators preferred to ape the master's style, and perpetuate the obscurity, I wanted to dissipate the haze and expose whatever was underneath – even if it meant seeing that the emperor was naked.


Like all British children, I had been given a smattering of physics, chemistry and biology at school, but this consisted solely of isolated facts and figures, without any overall view. Even worse, my high school science gave me no understanding of the process of scientific discovery, the dialectic of evidence and argument. I went on to study languages and linguistics at university, but even here the emphasis was just as much on literature as on the scientific study of language. It is hardly surprising, then, that when I came across the ideas of Jacques Lacan, shortly after finishing my first degree, I was unable to spot their serious defects. Now I understand more about how science works, those defects are so crashingly obvious that I sometimes feel ashamed of myself for being so naïve.”

― Dylan Evans, “From Lacan to Darwin”, in The Literary Animal; Evolution and the Nature of Narrative, eds. Jonathan Gottschall and David Sloan Wilson, Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2005, pp.38-55.


Dylan Evans, his name will probably be the most familiar to Lacanian readers thanks to his excellent An Introductory Dictionary of Lacanian Psychoanalysis. Evans abandoned psychoanalysis for the field of evolutionary psychology in the late 1990s. Just as he wrote the inaugural English-language introductory dictionary to Lacanian psychoanalysis, so he has since written an introductory text to evolutionary psychology. His own account of his move from one field to another – From Lacan to Darwin - makes fascinating reading and can be found here.

Source: Three Non-Lacanian Authors That Every Lacanian Should Read

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