Intensive Doctoral School

Specialist Course for UGent Doctoral School

Academic year 2022-2023

Course Title:

Mental Health Care, Research, Psychoanalysis and Philosophy

Lacan’s ‘Science and Truth’ and its relevance for today’s clinic, academic research and culture

Lecturers: Prof. Dr. Ed Pluth

Organizing committee:

 Scientific committee

Besides the members of the UGent organizing committee, this proposal is endorsed by

  • University of Edinburgh Napier:
  • Dr. Calum Neill; Edinburgh Napier,
  • University of Pittsburgh Duquesne:
  • Dr. Derek Hook; Duquesne Pittsburgh,

Topic and theme of the course

This seminar will be dedicated to a close reading of Lacan’s essay “Science and Truth,” whose main topic is psychoanalysis and its relation to science. There are two main tracks that we will follow. First, who or what is the subject of science? In what sense does science “suture” this subject, and how by contrast does psychoanalysis handle it? Second, what is the function of Lacan’s critique of humanism and the human sciences in this essay? His discussion of the truth as cause is crucial tp answering this: it is an idea that allows him to develop an early version of his discourse theory, according to which four different historical disciplines – magic, religion, science, and psychoanalysis – each handle the truth and the subject in different ways. There is an unmistakable chronology here, one in which psychoanalysis seems to be a sort of next move after science when it comes to dealing with truth and the subject. Many authors (Copjec, Milner, et al.) have situated Lacanian psychoanalysis against historicism. Does this essay represent one of Lacan’s last flirtations with it, before abandoning it for a more topological thinking, as seen in the later discourse theory and the Borromean knots? “Science and Truth” may offer us some insights into why this shift occurred, and why it was an important part of Lacan’s ongoing endeavor to situate psychoanalytic discourse more precisely.

Timing and program

These two days offer a close-reading of ‘Science and Truth’ in Lacan’s Ecrits. The participants are supposed to have read the text of  ‘Science and Truth’ before attending the course.


Ed Pluth is a native of Minnesota and received his BA in Philosophy and Art History from St. Cloud State University. He received his MA and PhD in philosophy from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, and studied and lived in Belgium for several years. He has been teaching at Chico State since 2002. He specializes in psychoanalytic theory and contemporary continental philosophy, and has taught courses on Sartre, Existentialism, Phenomenology, and regularly teaches 19th Century History (Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche) and Aesthetics.

Specialist Course for UGent Doctoral School

Academic year 2022-2023

Day One: The Subject of Science

  • 9:00 – 10:30 – The Cartesian background
  • 10:30 – 10:45 – Coffee Break
  • 10:45 – 12:00 – Lacan and the grammar of the cogito: a rewriting
  • 12:00 – 13:30 – Lunch
  • 13:30 – 15:00 – Science and the suturing of the subject
  • 15:00 – 15:15 – Break
  • 15:15 – 16:30 – Who or what is the subject of science?

Day Two: Psychoanalysis and the Human Sciences. Psychoanalysis against Psychologization

  • 9:00 – 10:30 – Historicism, the Cogito, and Psychoanalysis
  • 10:30 – 10:45 – Break
  • 10:45 – 12:00 – Lacan against psychology and the human sciences
  • 12:00 – 13:30 – Lunch
  • 13:30 – 15:00 – Truth and Cause
  • 15:00 – 15:15 – Break
  • 15:15 – 16:30 – The four causes, and four discourses. Historicism or discourse theory?


Sent CV and motivation to Students who qualify will receive approval by e-mail.

Registration is final after payment.