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Wassily Kandinsky
Some Circles

Lacan's Five Discourses

In this seminar, we will read Lacan’s The Other Side of Psychoanalysis and his Milan Discourse with the goal of investigating how his five discourses are operative within the clinic.  We will confront anew how the analyst’s discourse differs from the capitalist’s discourse.


Lacan's first four discourses are structured around relations of impossibility and impotence. They play with the impossibilities of governing (the master's discourse), educating (the university's discourse), and healing (the analyst's discourse). When we also consider empty versus full speech, the subject of the statement versus the subject of enunciation, language versus lalangue as well as the voice, we may quickly despair of ever getting any satisfactory answer from the Other (the hysteric's discourse), much less of giving voice to or hearing desire.


It may be tempting to resort to Lacan's fifth discourse of capitalism that falsely promises to remove these impossibilities and deliver us satisfaction. Taking the lead from Stijn Vanheule, Rik Loose, Frederic Declerq, Samo Tomšič, Antonio Quinet, Stephanie Swales, and others, we'll explore how this fifth discourse shows up in a variety of ways in the clinic. Crucial will be to explore how the discourse of the analyst (with object a as agent) might be the antidote to the capitalist in terms of the place each discourse gives to what Marx called surplus value and Lacan introduces as surplus jouissance as product. This will help us hone the discourse of the analyst as a mode of listening to the overdetermined speech of the analysand.



Lacan, J. The Other Side of Psychoanalysis: The Seminar of Jacques Lacan Book XVII, (2007). Trans. Russel Grigg, Trans. New York: Norton.

Lacan, J. On Psychoanalytic Discourse: The Capitalist Discourse, (1972). Trans. Jack W. Stone. University of Missouri, Missouri.

Additional readings will supplement these primary sources and will be assigned or recommended during the seminar.

Faculty: Gardner Fair, MFT, PhD, Candidate Analyst of LSP & Matthew Lovett, PhD, Precandidate Analyst of the LSP

Dates/Times: Second Saturday of each month, 10am-12pm Pacific Time beginning September 14th 2024 and running through June 2025

Location: Online via Zoom, by invitation 

Contact: and

Fee: $60 per class/Students $40 or LSP Tuition (Please contact facilitators to discuss any financial burden – you won’t be turned away!)

Gardner Fair, MFT, PhD. Candidate Analyst of LSP. He has a private practice in psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy located in Oakland, CA.  Before private practice, he interned for a year at a clinic for juvenile sex offenders, among other places, and worked for a decade with Haight-Ashbury Free Clinics as a counselor and then psychotherapist in the San Francisco jails.

Matthew Lovett holds a PhD in Philosophy and teaches in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. His courses there include Feminist Theory, Queer Theory, Intro to LGBTQ+ Studies, and Sex & Sexualities. He has forthcoming publications on Lacanian psychoanalysis and trans embodiment, Deleuze's use of psychoanalysis, and Mark Rothko's tacit Neoplatonism. His book project, Deleuze, Lacan, and the Becoming of Sexuation: An Inquiry into Sexual Difference is also slated for publication with Routledge.

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