Tom Ormay: Intersubjectivity and the social function: nos

Reflections on some thoughts by René Kaës’ Linking, alliances, and shared space — from a groupanalytic point of view

Intersubjectivity is one of the modern trends in the development of psychoanalytic thinking. It has many forms, and perhaps the most radical of them is represented by René Kaës.

Like any new point of view, intersubjectivity stimulates many ideas. As he develops psychoanalytic thinking in the direction of groups, it is worth comparing the effect of Kaës’ intersubjectivity with groupanalytic thinking. The main areas of the tension between psychoanalysis and the group are being touched on, namely the ego and the community, the dual situation and the social nature of man, the resistance against the group that originate from the history of psychoanalytic development. Indirectly Freud said much about the social nature of man, but he did not build it into his theories. One wonders why not. These questions emerge in the book, but, in my opinion, do not get satisfactory answers, because intersubjectivity lacks the social instinct and the genuine social function I call nos (Ormay 1991), that developed from the social instinct. Without such solid foundations the person called subject does not stand on the ground but floats somewhere, impossible to touch, and the role of the body is not clear. Consequently the link between intersubjective ideas, and Freudian psychoanalysis based on instinctual foundations is also unclear.

Key words: intersubjectivity — hermeneutics — subject of the unconscious

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