Reading Jacques Lacan’s Seminar VII: Ethics : Back book cover

by Julia Evans on July 7, 2012

What does analysis allow us to formulate concerning the origin of morality?

‘Given all that is implied by the phrase, the ethics of psychoanalysis will allow me, far more than anything else, to test the categories that I believe enable me to give you through my teaching the most suitable instruments for understanding what is new both in Freud’s work and in the experience of psychoanalysis that derives from it.’

With these words Jacques Lacan begins his famous seminar on ethics, in which he discusses the problem of sublimation, the paradox of ‘jouissance’, the essence of tragedy (a reading of Sophocles’s ‘Antigone’), and the tragic dimension of analytical experience. Delving into the psychoanalyst’s inevitable involvement with ethical questions and the ‘attraction of transgression’, Lacan clarifies many of his key concepts, as well as his criticisms of certain trends in psychoanalysis.   from the back cover of ‘The Ethics of psychoanalysis’: 1959-1960: The seminar of Jacques Lacan: Book VII, Edited by Jacques-Alain Miller, translated with notes by Dennis Porter, Tavistock/Routledge  1992 : Notes information & availability here

The Reading Group

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­The idea for the Lacan Reading Group stems from an initial collaboration between Richard Dumbrill (Iconea Director),  Julia Evans (Lacanian Analyst and a member of the European Federation of Psychoanalysis), and Bruno de Florence (musicologist and Iconea Fellow).  We are grateful for the support given by both Iconea ( and the Institute of Musical Research (

Aim and process for reading Seminar VII

The English translation of Jacques Lacan’s text will be read by the group during sessions. Group members will be encouraged to contribute to the discussion of ideas, the examination of the context and Jacques Lacan’s references, and invitations will be extended to them and others, with intersecting interests (such as linguistics, mathematics, philosophy, topology, semiotics, Semitic languages, etc…) to join us in discussions. It is hoped that a body of notes will emerge.

Please note : This group will have its last meeting in July 2014.  Session dates for the 2012 autumn term were:

Saturday 15th September

Saturday 6th October

Saturday 27th October

Saturday 17th November

Saturday 8th December

Timing: From 10.30am until 12.30


The sessions will be located in University of London’s

Senate House, Malet Street,

Saturday 15th September       10.30-12.30     Room 102

Saturday 6th October             10.30-12.30      Room 102

Saturday 27th October           10.30-12.30      Room G34

Saturday 17th November        10.30-12.30    Room 102

Saturday 8th December          10.30-12.30     Room G22

Transport links:

By Tube: 
Nearest underground stations: Russell Square (Piccadilly Line),
Goodge Street (Northern Line),
Tottenham Court Road (Central Line and Northern Line),
Euston Square (Circle Line, Metropolitan Line and Hammersmith and City Line),
Euston Station (Victoria Line & Northern Line).

Availability of the text

The 1992 translation by Dennis Porter will be used.

Published as ‘The Ethics of Psychoanalysis’: 1959-1960: The seminar of Jacques Lacan: Book VII by Tavistock/Routledge, 1992.

Further details of its availability are given here:

Seminar VII: The ethics of psychoanalysis: 1959-1960: Jacques Lacan

or here

If you would like to join us, please contact Julia Evans

No advance booking necessary.

 Further information:

Texts from Reading Seminar VII    here

A number of the references commented on by Jacques Lacan are available at Seminar VII: The ethics of psychoanalysis: 1959-1960: Jacques Lacan or here

Other texts by Jacques Lacan,  see   here


Note : If links to any required text do not work, check If a particular text or book remains absent, contact Julia Evans.


Julia Evans

Practicing Lacanian Psychoanalyst,  London & Sandwich in Kent


Further posts:

Reading Seminar VII   here

Translation Working Group here

Lacanian Transmission  here

Some Lacanian History  here

Topology  here

From LW working groups  here

Of the clinic  here

Ethics  here

Dreams  here

By Sigmund Freud here

Notes on texts by Sigmund Freud  here

By Jacques Lacan here

Notes on texts by Jacques Lacan here

By Julia Evans here