0 like 0 dislike
0 like 0 dislike
What are mathematicians opinions on the use of mathematical concepts in Lacanian psychoanalysis?

7 Answers

0 like 0 dislike
0 like 0 dislike
If I understand, the question is: Is Lacan's theory tantamount to numerology?

I think, it would depend on how much badly misrepresented (as you call it) mathematical reasoning is applied to the theory versus how much high value scientific work is being done on the theory.

I think the ironic thing is: even if something like Lacan's theory exists, and we can "model precisely some area of theoretical science", ultimately I am still judging the environment by a perceived ratio of bullshit.
0 like 0 dislike
0 like 0 dislike
An English professor friend told me it's loose poetic metaphor when I had told him it was nonsense.

"Shall I compare you to a summer's day....."
0 like 0 dislike
0 like 0 dislike
I didn't know Lacan had any concept of a topological manifold, much less tried to apply them to psychoanalysis. How did he do that?
0 like 0 dislike
0 like 0 dislike
My understanding is that Lacan's mathematical terminology amounts to arguing that mommy kinks are the infinity in the one-point compactification of kink-space or something along those lines, which I think its pretty silly. On the other hand, Sokal's critiques in the humanities are extremely amateurish and don't hold up to any scrutiny, and this one is no different.

It seems like Lacan found some topological ideas to be useful as metaphors, and although I think he got carried away with them, there are enough clever and well-minded people who find his work insightful that dismissing his psychoanalysis on these grounds doesn't make much sense.
0 like 0 dislike
0 like 0 dislike
Well I have something to say about this whole Sokal hoax.

I didn't think about it on my own, but red this on twitter. However I don't think bad about this, because maybe they also stole it from someone else.

Sokal hoax is an anecdote. Its some person who managed to crack the system at some weak point of it. However, using it as a "proof" for something is, ironically, unscientific.

Do you want to check whether the Humanities are just silly jargon, or if there is real depth in it? Construct this very simple experiment - take 5 of those "jokes" papers, and 5 reall papers from prestigious publications and let researchers on those fields (philosophy, gender studies and so on...) to read and decide which paper is a joke and which one is not. This way you can have a real scientific answer.

(It was done with so called "wine experts" and indeed found out that they don't really have the super power of knowing which of the wines is a cheap wine you can buy on the super market and which one is some super expensive and luxurious wine...)

And also a sidenot - such "Sokal hoxes", of writing papers full of silly jargon that ending up passing peer review were done on the fields of biology, physics and also math.
0 like 0 dislike
0 like 0 dislike
Physicists and biologists don’t pretend to use sophisticated math to gain legitimacy—if anything, use of obscure math gets you entirely dismissed in those fields.
0 like 0 dislike
0 like 0 dislike
Most mathematicians who have heard of lacan think it is either a joke or total bullshit

Related questions

0 like 0 dislike
0 like 0 dislike
12 answers
joixlee asked Jun 21
Importance of the role of First Order Logic (FOL) in understanding higher level mathematics
joixlee asked Jun 21
by joixlee
0 like 0 dislike
0 like 0 dislike
2 answers
hiroki_noda asked Jun 21
Is anyone familiar with the book, “Topics in the Theory of Numbers,” by Erdős and Surányi?
hiroki_noda asked Jun 21
0 like 0 dislike
0 like 0 dislike
10 answers
0 like 0 dislike
0 like 0 dislike
1 answer
ByKimberleyA asked Jun 21
Several issues of the Mathematische Schülerbücherei in pdf format. (great series from the former GDR)
ByKimberleyA asked Jun 21
0 like 0 dislike
0 like 0 dislike
19 answers
USAIDMarkGreen asked Jun 21
Fields medal ceremony is coming in a month, so I created this map that may be interesting to some of you (I, for example, expected that more brits had gotten the medal).
USAIDMarkGreen asked Jun 21

24.8k questions

103k answers

0 comments

33.7k users

OhhAskMe is a math solving hub where high school and university students ask and answer loads of math questions, discuss the latest in math, and share their knowledge. It’s 100% free!