Daragh Howard – Lacan’s Concept of the Unconscious in Seminar XI (Part One) – On the Subject as Indeterminate

THE LETTER 48 (Autumn 2011) pages 47-53

This is the first part of a paper on the unconscious as discussed in Lacan’s Seminar XI, The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis. It highlights the elaboration of the questions of Cause, Location, and Ontology, and attempts to give an insight to how each of these ideas are useful in bringing us somewhat closer to grasping the ungraspable of the unconscious.

Keywords: Lacan, indeterminate, cause, location, ontology.


The Unconscious, Repetition, Drive, Transference, these are the four fundamental concepts of psychoanalysis according to Lacan in his 1964 seminar.1 Immediately, it can be seen that his point of reference, at least on two counts, is the metapsychology of Freud.2 The unconscious and the drive are explicitly dealt with in the 1915 Metapsychology Papers.

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