Towards a Lacanian Group Psychology: The Prisoner's Dilemma and the Trans-subjective



Revisiting Lacan's discussion of the puzzle of the prisoner's dilemma provides a means of elaborating a theory of the trans-subjective. An illustration of this dilemma provides the basis for two important arguments. Firstly, that we need to grasp a logical succession of modes of subjectivity: from subjectivity to inter-subjectivity, and from inter-subjectivity to a form of trans-subjective social logic. The trans-subjective, thus conceptualized, enables forms of social objectivity that transcend the level of (inter)subjectivity, and which play a crucial role in consolidating given societal groupings. The paper advances, secondly, that various declarative and symbolic activities are important non-psychological bases—trans-subjective foundations—for psychological identifications of an inter-subjective sort. These assertions link interesting to recent developments in the contemporary social psychology of interobjectivity, which likewise emphasize a type of objectivity that plays an indispensible part in co-ordinating human relations and understanding.