Interview with Jocelyn Benoist

Contemporary Uses of Phenomenology: Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis, and the Neurosciences
From the Transmission of Tradition to the Grammar of Identity
By Jocelyn Benoist, Olivier Putois

Jocelyn Benoist, a leading French philosopher, speaks about the importance of psychoanalysis and in particulier the treatment, in Freud’s Moses and Monotheism, of the theme of tradition and its transmission, which he contrasts with that of phenomenology. He indicates that the preservation of the symbolic character of this tradition requires that one free oneself from a phylogenetic conception of its transmission, which draws instead on language, and which re-codes what it transmits. In response to this, mobilizing the concept of identification, we underline the structural variety of the symbolizations of the inter-generational dimension, and the role that language plays in this. J. Benoist concludes by sketching out a philosophical grammar of identity: if, in identification, the subject determines his identity symbolically, his relation to reality (in particular to his body) must, on the other hand, be spoken of in terms of having.


  • History
  • tradition
  • transmission
  • memory
  • phylogenetics
  • symbolic
  • identity
  • identification
  • individual & collective
  • reality
  • subject
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