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Philosophy and Theology

Volume 24, Issue 1, 2012

Herman Westerink
Pages 3-21

Creatio ex nihilo, the Problem of Evil, and the Crisis in Ethics
Lacan Reads Luther's "The Bondage of the Will"

In his 1959–1960 seminar on the ethics of psychoanalysis the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan states that one can only fully understand the intellectual (philosophical, ethical) problems Freud addresses when one recognizes the filiation or cultural paternity that exists between him and a new direction of thought represented by Luther. In this article Lacan’s interest in Luther’s theological voluntarism, his conception of God, his articulation of what Lacan identifies as the modern crisis in ethics and his view on the law in relation to desire is presented and analysed. It is argued that Lacan is primarily interested in Luther as a religious author radically expressing the problem of the foundation of moral law and addressing the question how and where a person finds moral orientation after the break with the medieval Aristotelian-scholastic universal order and given man’s sinful desires.

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