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date: 17 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter attempts to tease out the most important implications for law and legal theory of Sigmund Freud’s speculative essays on the origins of human society, and in particular his thesis that the first laws were created in response to the prehistoric murder of a primitive father whose power and authority they alternately preserve, displace, or transform. Putting Freud’s cultural writings in dialogue with later writings on law by Jacques Lacan, Mladen Dolar, and Pierre Legendre, the essays suggests that psychoanalysis allows us to distinguish two fundamentally different registers of law, imaginary authority, and symbolic constraint, whose stakes it explores through readings of totemism, the group psychology, and the Mosaic law.

Keywords: psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, Jacques Lacan, Totem and Taboo, Moses and Monotheism, Decalogue, incorporation, introjection, superego

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