The pigs grunt: Grices cooperation principle and psychoanalytic transference discourse

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We attempt to show the unique nature of Grice's Cooperation Principle within the analytic is course. The analytic alliance is the transference of Grice's maxims to the Other: Due to the split of the ego, the imaginary conscious speech has to violate the maxims for them to return in inverted form as the discourse of the Other (unconscious), and hence attain to the maxims. For each of Grice's categories (quantity, quality, relation, and manner), we check this hypothesis against examples from Freud and Lacan. Psychoanalysis centers on discourse. This discourse is not only a means for therapy. By his speech, the analysand recognizes his unconscious, that speech-making existence from absence (lack) is in itself a symptom undergoing the 'talking cure'. The analytic discourse is characterized as a therapeutic pact between analysand and analyst: The analysand loses himself in words and says whatever comes to mind with no censorship or judgment, subjecting himself to the Other. The analyst meeting the analysand's 'free associations' with 'evenly suspended attention' situates himself in the locus of that Other re-flecting the discourse of the Other. By its nature, this pact cultivates transference. Transference is a speech act, so such discourse is not a hermeneutic interpretation but a working-through of the speaker's identity (who he is: age, role and whom is he calling).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-198
Number of pages38
StatePublished - 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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