The concept, object, has several and sometimes confusing referents. In philosophy, it is generally contrasted with the conscious ‘subject’ or observing agent; the object, then, is the passive thing to be observed; in short, the ‘object relates to a subject’. In psychoanalysis, the subject-object relationship is made problematic: objects are invested (i.e. cathected) with energy. Objects, thus, are all organized around desire and may be people or even abstract ideas. Apart from the external object (the real person, the body or part of body), the ‘object’ must always be understood as a ‘theoretical construct’ or term, not an ‘observational’ one; thus, it refers to the empirical thing, or events, or a person or a bodily zone, only through its effects. Psychoanalysts will often refer to transitional objects (see entry, transitional objects), part-objects, total objects, narcissistic, internal and external objects, selfobjects, object relationships and object choices. Just as we know and feel the presence of gravity (not by seeing it), we know and feel the presence of our object world — through the effects produced by it, within us and in our inter subjective lives. The concept, object, thus is used by psychoanalysts (and others) from different schools of thought as a tool for understanding the complexities of our psychic and relational worlds.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number