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Michel Tort

A student of Louis Althusser’s at the École Normale Supérieure in the 1960s, Michel Tort was a member of the Cercle d’Épistémologie for issues three to ten of the Cahiers pour l’Analyse. Tort was very close to Althusser, part of the inner circle that received Althusser’s missives on the ‘theory of the Discourse’ in 1966-1967. He also formed part of the ‘Groupe Spinoza’ organized by Althusser in late 1967 to develop a set of theoretical weapons able to battle at once the two ‘fronts’ of extreme structuralist formalism on the one hand, and humanist ‘philosophies’ of spiritualism, phenomenology, and existentialism on the other. Tort was a vocal contributor to these debates, urging Althusser to increase his pressure on Derrida in order to maximize the latter’s critique of phenomenology.

In 1974, Tort published a book with François Maspero titled Le Quotient intellectuel, which excoriated the use of psychometric measurements in education policy. In 1975, Tort became a practicing psychoanalyst himself, and today teaches at the Université de Paris 7 in the Laboratoire de psychologie fondamentale. He has published multiple books and articles on Freudian and Lacanian thought, and in 2007-2008 he co-directed a seminar on the politics of sexuality, one of his abiding concerns, at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales. Tort’s career in psychoanalysis is anticipated the translations of Freud’s writings his did in the 1960s and in his own contribution to the Cahiers in volume five, an investigation into the Freudian concept of the ‘répresentant’.

In the Cahiers pour l’Analyse

Michel Tort, ‘Le concept freudien de “Représentant”’, CpA 5.2 [HTML] [PDF] [SYN]

Select bibliography

  • Le Quotient intellectuel. Paris: Maspero, 1974.
  • Le Désir froid: procréation artificielle et crise de repères symboliques. Paris: La Découverte, 1992.
  • The Subject and the Self: Lacan and American Psychoanalysis, ed. with Judith Feher Gurewich and Susan Fairfield. London: Aronson, 1996.
  • Fin du dogme paternel. Paris: Aubier, 2005.