Should we take literally Woody Allen’s motto-like title, “Whatever Works”? Neither nominalist nor materialist, or rather partaking of the one and the other, it is based on “moterialité” [a pun on mot, word, and materialité, materiality], as J-A Miller reminded us in his course.This is a practice of semblances, but in their relation to jouissance and sinthome, and thereby it touches the Real.

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Freud truly brought the question of the phallus to the foreground with the famous “penis envy” which so shocked feminists.

It cannot be said that the formulation was a very happy one, but it did signal an outcome in Freud’s doctrine and an attempt to punctuate the multiplicity of propositions made by his female students.

He provides its substitutional logic in the text called “On the transpositions of drives” : “…” The 1932 conference closed with the statement that the fate of women is motherhood, and that the “pre-oedipal” is essential (according to the child=penis=feces equation established by Freud in 1915).

I will only remind you that Lacan takes up the Freudian position where Freud had left it in his discussion with Jones, and that one of his main texts called “The signification of the phallus,” is based on this.

Among all semblances in the world, some operate in the psychoanalytic experience to deal with the relations between men and women.

For there are Lacanian semblances, those that Lacan places on the level of concepts.

Everything is but a semblance, even in vanities in art, for example, which make it clear that, with regard to the castration inflicted by time, life amounts only to a few things.

Are we therefore the ridiculous puppets of a general relativism?

Thus it is, for his own part taking the father as his starting point and as a reaction against the object-relations school and the Kleinians, that Lacan takes up the question of sexuation – that is to say, on the basis of the phallic signification, which he approaches in its two values, Sinn and Bedutung, in reference to Frege’s paper “On Sense and Reference” (Sinn=sense, Bedeutung=meaning or reference).