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Analysis of subjective logics is an original method of discourse analysis developed and taught by the French psychoanalyst Jean-Jacques Pinto.

A brief presentation of Analysis of subjective logics (A.S.L.)


A.S.L. is a method of analysis of the words (lexemes) of a spoken or written text, drawing on psychoanalysis, which allows one, without using the nonverbal communication, to get an idea of the personality of the author/authoress as well as of those he/she can expect to persuade or to entice.

This word-only analysis allows one to use either anonymous or signed texts, which will produce an effect on the reader (sympathy, antipathy, indifference) even if the author (who can be remote in time and/or space) is unknown to him.

One takes into account the meaning of words, not as a whole, but by breaking it down to the most elementary "atoms of meaning" possible, as to find general tendencies, subjective invariant items, independent of the issue broached in the text.

Series (definition in extension)

There are, in a language such as French for instance, subjective sub-languages or "speeches" which, though different, understand each other as they mutually translate into the other. These are combinations of words endowed with a positive or negative value.

  • Simple words ("atoms") are adjectives expressing simple properties (opened / closed, new / ancient), classified in two lists of opposites called "series" :
    • Series " A " concerns the outside, changement, disorder, destruction of the ancient. It is made up of simple adjectives such as : opened, flexible, divers, changeable, new, free etc.…
    • Series " B " concerns by contrast the inside, non-change, order, permanence. It is made up of simple adjectives such as : serious, firm, stable, ancient, solid, lasting etc. …
  • Complex words ("molecules ") are complex adjectives, names, verbs and adverbs, which meaning can be broken down into A or B atoms. When they are of almost homogeneous composition, they are attributed to series either A (i.e. "butterfly": mobile, light, quick, unruly") or B (i.e "turtle": heavy, slow, rigid). It is approximative, for only the simple adjectives make up the series. If they are of mixed composition or difficult to analyse, they will be qualified respectively as "neutral « (noted "0 ") or "undecidable" (noted "? ").
  • The value attributed to a word depends on the favourable or disadvantageous echo this word holds for the speaker. It is positive ("+ "), negative ("-"), neutral ("0 ") or undecidable ("? "). It can change depending on the moment or the time of life.

Points of view

They are obtained by comparing for every pertinent word in a text its series and its value. They can change, as the value, according to instants or according to ages of life.

The « extraverted » point of view (indicated by the letter E) values series A and depreciates series B, what can be noted :

A + = B — = E.................Example: I am open-minded, I am not narrow-minded

(From now on, to make their location easier, words A will appear in italics, and words B in bold).

The « introverted » point of view (indicated by I) values series B and depreciates series A, what can be noted :

B + = A — = I.................Example: I am serious, I am not a phoney.

The « extraverted » point of view will therefore choose its words in series A to express what he likes, and in series B to express what he criticises, does not like or even fears :

The « introverted » point of view will on the contrary choose its words in series B to express what he likes, and in series A to express what he criticises, does not like or even fears :

Consequences : The "same" word or the "same" expression can be valued (+) according to the « extraverted » point of view and depreciated (-) according to the « introverted » point of view, and conversely.

In fact, it is not the "same" words or expressions, but homonyms (same form, different use) as seen by A.L.S.

To describe the same kind of pleasure, the speakers use words from opposite series.

Also, to describe the same type of annoyance.


It is the extension to a whole life of the notion of point of view, matching the empirical notion of personality and the psychoanalytic notion of identification : each one plays "his" biography as an actor says "his" text, in fact written by another. The subjective sub-languages, or "speeches", make combinations in time (from adolescence to the end of life, see Genesis §) of the "I " and " E " points of view, what succeeds in :

1) A "conservative" speech (I → I), corresponding to the obsessional personality : " incorruptible introvert ", nostalgic of lost Paradise, who begins "I " and finishes "I ".

2) A "change / destruction" speech (E → E) corresponding to the hysterical personality : « incorrigible extravert », attracted by Hell, which begins " E " and finishes " E ".

3) A « progressive » or "constructor" speech (E → I), «repentant extravert », passing in transit by the Purgatory, which begins " E " and finishes "I ".

4) A "hesitating" speech(I or E, abbreviation of I → E → I → E.), roughly the phobic personality: « eternal undecided », wobbling all his life between "I " and " E ".

Combinations of speeches

There is a «missed E → I» speech in which the speaker fails or even dies at the very time when he finishes the masterpiece which compensate its previous restless wandering. The representatives of the "hesitating" speech can "lean out" on the side of the I → I speech or of the E → E speech : facing a frightening situation, the first ("cautious") will be held on their guards, the seconds ("ambitious ") will nevertheless go ahead, as knights «with fear and with reproach»! These names are borrowed to B. Cathelat and his Socio-Styles-Système (cf. § Validation, infra). The existence of these combinations shows to the reader suspecting A.S.L. of simplification that the current list of possibilities is not limitative.


A.S.L. draws its inspiration from some swordings of Jacques Lacan (theory of « Four discourses »); it tries to validate them by putting them in contact with corpuses drawn of the common speech. What relation between speeches in A.L.S and discourses in Lacan ? His "Mathèmes" (symbols formalizing clinical experience) describe the discourses of the Master, of the University, of the Hysterical and of the Analyst. But they do not prevent the unreliable interpretations by the disciples, and correlations with clinical observation are sometimes doubtful (cf. § Applications).

Refusing these expressions, ambiguous and perhaps premature, to start from the word for word of swordings, led to create A.S.L. It describes speeches coinciding only partly with the discourses of Lacan, what does not prevent the compatibility of A.S.L. with lacanian premises, and the fact that to speeches can be applied what Jean-Claude Milner [1] says about "four discourses": « [...] a speech [...] is [...] nothing but a group of rules of synonymy and of non-synonymy. [...] telling that there is a division between two discourses, is only telling that none of the proposals of one is synonymous with any of the proposals of the other. [...] there can only be synonymies [...] inside the same discourse, and between different discourses the only possible resemblances belong to homonymy. »

Genesis of the series and speeches

Starting with the noticing that there are different sub-languages, let us now present arguments in favour of the identificatory and fantastical nature of series, points of view and speeches described by A.S.L.

The psychoanalytical term "identification"

The first moment of identification consists in starting to speak, in becoming identified with the functioning of language, however without indicating oneself in the swording (the child does not straightaway say "I").

The second moment founds in the speech of the parent (proper name, personal pronouns) the conviction of the child that he is somebody, an unified entity, and moreover the author of his speech, although it comes from another one.

The « third identification » sets up the fantasy, which can accept a linguistic definition : "according to freudian theory, a fantasy is always expressed by a sentence, or more exactly by an sentence phrase, every variant of which answers in principle a distinct fantasy" (Jean-Claude Milner). The subject of the unconscious, as the freudo-lacanian theory of subjectivity defines it, is then constituted.

Hypothesis of A.S.L.

It is the parental discourse that determines, not in a linear way but with transformations themselves « programmed », the fantastical discourse of the child, depending on whether it is idealised or rejected (extreme cases). The child, once identified with the text of parental desire, will describe and will treat from now on any object (including himself and his parent) as the parent described him and wanted to treat him. It is the satisfaction of the parent, and not his, that he expresses and searches without knowing it. The adjectives extracted from the evaluations of the parent on him, and the verbs describing the fate which he wishes upon him, will give the atoms valued in fantastical wordings, and constituent of the series.

  1. Adjectives describe the object :
    1. such as he is considered by the parent (beautiful, ugly, as expected, not as expected, etc.)
    2. plus such as it ought to be so that the action the parent would wish to accomplish upon it, or the behaviour he expects from it are made possible, i.e. light to more easily get rid of it if it is "a burden", careful if it is a matter of protecting it.
  1. Verbs describe the attitude of the parent :
    1. in front of the idealised child: to like, to love, to take seriously, to respect, to look, to see, to consider, to own, to control, to keep, to protect, to lock up, to hold, to contain, to isolate, to incorporate (often metaphorized as to eat), to feed, to fill, etc.
    2. in front of the unwanted child: verbs expressing disappointment, surprise, astonishment, fright, horror, to hate, to detest, to curse, not to take seriously, to deride, as well as the means to get rid of such a child, to make it change, or to ignore it : to destroy (to open, break, demolish, burn, burst, tear, pierce, etc.), to change, alter, corrupt, distort, twist, displace, move, shake, move away, move aside, chase away, chase out (sometimes metaphorized as to vomit), to leave, to let go, to drop down, to throw out, to lose, to mislead, to give, to sell, to exchange, to disregard, to ignore, to forget, etc. all these words being secondarily valued by the adult this child will become.

The verbs expressing the wish of the parent will be able to be found in the discourse of the child in the active, passive or reflexive voice.

  • The connection is generally easily perceived between the fact having been carefully kept (parental « I keep him/her »), and the fact finding I keep « its » satisfaction to keep objects or persons, to guard against (dangers or of contacts), and to be kept. Filial love, where the deified child worships his parents, is as for it an example of « return to sender ».
  • It is less obvious to consider that (French) « s'éclater, se défoncer, s'envoyer en l'air, se fendre la gueule » may result from the reflexive transformation of a parental « je l'éclate, je le défonce, je l'envoie en l'air, je lui fends la gueule ». It is however quite simply the freudolacanian thesis of reversibility between subject and object in fantasy. The auto-aggressiveness which ranges from exhibition to danger up to suicide is coupled with a hetero-aggressiveness which ranges from the disrespect to others up to their destruction, both of them uniting in the example of the terrorist exploding with his bomb. It is possible to admit in the parricide a « return to sender » to the parent dreaming about infanticide.

Minimal semantic features or "atoms" extracted from these verbs and adjectives are precisely those who constitute the two series :

  • series destruction-disappearance-moving away-change, or A series.
  • series conservation-integrity-stability, or B series.

In depth description of series, points of view and speeches

Attempt at a linguistic description

The two points of view I and E, and their combinations (speeches), recall the lects described by Michel Le Guern (1983) [2] :

A language is a polyhierarchy of subsystems. Some [...] offer to speakers choices between
various variants. Each one [is] a lect. Lects [...] will be allocated neither to an individual,
nor to a social category, nor to a geographical area, nor to a particular type of communication.
They will be studied "in itself ", in their pure oppositive relations [...].

- The two series of atoms A and B are therefore lists of minimal semantic features (or Seme (semantics)|semes) compared urgent term, for example open / close, flexible / rigid, distant / close.

-The complex signifiers (verbs, complex adjectives, nouns, adverbs) do not a priori belong to series. It is possible for each of them to describe its composition in atoms.

- Expressions and frozen expressions, [1]

It is often possible to find out simple rules of calculation to determine the series of an expression with the form Verb + Direct object, using its elements :

  • Verb A + Noun B → expression A
  • Verb B + Noun A → expression B
  • Verb A + Noun A → expression A
  • Verb B + Noun B → expression B

The study of these expressions allows to compare the ways to describe the same referent using the different points of view (it is possible to list the "translations" of an expression from a point of view into another).

- The sentences. As well as symmetrical expressions exist, it is possible to meet :

1. symmetrical sentences,

2. symmetrical analogies,

3. symmetrical proverbs, aphorisms and maxims.

- The texts of variable length.

- The biographies. It is possible to consider a biography to be a text which argues in favour of one of the identifications described sooner, as a subjective lect (a subjilect), a speech deriving from an identification to the parental discourse.

Rules and comments

Direct and indirect validation, critics and self-critics, results

Direct validation of A.S.L.

Indirect validation of A.S.L.

Critics and self-critics

Applications of A.S.L.

To psychoanalysis

A.L.S allows a logicized presentation of clinical descriptions in neuroses, thus avoiding some confusions. For example:

  • The notion of « I or E » speech helps better understanding of why typical phobics are simultaneously agoraphobic (I point of view) and claustrophobic (E point of view).
  • The possible confusion between obsessional discourse and discourse of the University is overcome thanks to the terminology of A.S.L. (« conservative » speech and « constructive » speech). Indeed Lacan often considers these two designations to be synonyms. And the logic of the « I → I » speech (counterpart of obsessional discourse) makes its assimilation impossible to university discourse (counterpart of the « E → I » speech) : the first assumes an initial perfection, a « inbred wisdom », incompatible with the acquisition of new knowledge (the obsessed man/woman is « full of dirty ignorance », and nevertheless pedant) ; the second assumes a secondary perfectibility and allows one to « fill up with knowledge » in order to redeem a « mad » and not very studious youth, and to acquire the respectability which one had not at first.

The validation of A.L.S allows as an indirect consequence to contribute to « upstream » validation of general theses which it presupposes (Lacan, 1966 [2]), notably:

  • The subject of unconscious represented in language, « perfectly accessible to the calculation of conjecture » and pertaining to « the inscription of a combinatory the exhaustion of which would be possible »,
  • the fundamental notion that « the desire of man is the desire of Other »,
  • The reversibility between subject and object in phantasy.

« Series and speeches » can also and especially be applied to the discourses of the analysts.

The analysts being made with the same "clay" as their patients, the analytical discourse should not consist simply in their statements, often fantastical. To characterise it, it is easier to proceed by elimination, to say what it is not, as the identification of the different phantasies goes along.

  • On the goals of the analytical "therapy", it can exist an unconscious complicity between the analyst and his patient in a common phantasy, when they share the same speech, what A.S.L. can detect. And such phantasies have an effect on the practice and effects of analyses, which in that case, instead of sending back all the identifications back to back to tend towards the "désêtre", the subjective deposition (Lacan), take back the "analysing one" in a neurotic speech only dressed with psychoanalytic jargon.
  • On theory : analytical literature is swarming with suspicious conceptualisations, which sometimes put forward as an alibi the « structure of fiction of truth ». A.S.L. allows, in this jungle of « analytical » productions, to make a first sorting between the wrong tracks (banally fantastical) and potentially interesting hypotheses (in the operating sense by Gardin), which then remain to demonstrate.

A.L.S. cannot apply directly to the psychoanalytic "therapy". Thus the applications of A.S.L., method based on psychoanalytic theses, are mostly extra-psychoanalytic.

To speech sciences

To semantics

Since there is subjective universaux, distinct from cognitive universaux, following from the genesis of identifications, and exceeding the style of an author, the languages or the epochs, A.S.L. has some explicative potential, or even predictive in the semantics of rhetoric figures. This can be seen in cognitively unexplainable synonymies. So the MORFLER article of the Dictionary of non conventional French (Cellard, on 1980) points out: «(1) to receive (blows, bullet): of series Morfiler, « to eat », by figurative passage to « to take »(cf. "déguster"). (2) to speak, to confess, to report : incomprehensible meaning. It must be a confusion between "Morfler" and "Moufter" (to speak)».

To rhetorics and to argumentation

Each one is made by his parent the lawyer of a type of identification, therefore is dedicated to a kind of lexical advocacy. To hear "his" dialect or the opposing dialect provokes adhesion or opposition, consensus or conflict. Series are therefore tanks of metaphoric elements with argumentative value, where one scoop out to argue without using reasoning"

Misunderstanding being the thing best shared in the world, A.S.L. has consequences in the field of negotiation. It allows to explain and sometimes to solve misunderstanding generative either of conflicts (cf. § Rules of " dialogic game") or wrong consensus bound to break.

To poetry and to litterature

Baudelaire (1993) [7] declared (Salon of 1859): « Rhetorics and prosodies are not tyrannies arbitrarily invented, but collection of rules claimed by the organisation of the spiritual being ».

These rules of the subjective organisation intervene in composition as well in reception of the literary text. A.S.L. adds a dimension to the classical or modern analyses. Independently of poetic singularity (singularity of the poet by its biography, singularity of the poem by its place in work and by its unique character), it searches :

  • the common denominator to the author, to his heirs (other " accursed poets " for example) and to his readers : who appreciates him, who rejects him, and in which terms (networks of complicity). A study on Baudelaire's The Flowers of Evil, to be published, shows the reliability of this approach.
  • constancy or variation of its "point of view" in the course of his life. So Aragon (1977) passes from E point of view to I point of view, as shown by the opposite prefaces of 1924 and 1964 of Le libertinage [8], unlike Paul Nizan who stays in the dialect E → E.

To translations

One can take into account the level of language of terms to be translated, and to render depending on circumstances original expression either by « perdre la raison », or « devenir fou », or « péter les plombs ».. But it is unlikely that they differentiate, at the same level of language, between "fondu" and "givré" or they enter « y passer » and « y rester » (pseudosynonyms) there. Of this fact the reader will be deprived of a key information concerning the personality of the author (autobiography), or the psychology of the character.

To all human sciences

Brunetto Latini wrote in the Middle Ages (The Book of Treasure): « Tullius [Marcus Tullius Cicero] said that the highest science of city governing is rhetorics, that is the science of speech ; because if speech did not exist, neither would city exist nor any establishment of justice or of human company ».

Lakoff (1985) and Johnson point out : « Metaphors can create realities, especially social realities », and J. Molino (1979) [9]: « Metaphor, at the moment when linguists rediscover its importance, appears therefore as a strategical instrument of analysis of culture ... But if metaphor is necessary to the interpretation of cultures, would not it be at the same time one of its essential ingredients ? ».

For A.S.L., which here agrees with Lacan, metaphor is constituent of phantasy, and institutions (which are based on statements or texts), social realities and cultures are only aspects of the subjective text or « psychical reality » which derives from our condition of speaking beings. And so one can and must, to understand them, approach the study of "human being" from the angle of speech. A.S.L., among other methods, can contribute to the critic of psychological, sociological, economic, political, philosophical, or even pseudo-psychoanalytic explanations of "discontents in civilisation" : learning to raise the pertinent questions - i.e. in any "theory" to look for phantasy - is imperative before even beginning to look for solutions. Indeed the speaker described by A..S.L. as the simple spokesperson of a "cleared out from its singularity identification" is no more neither the individual subject of psychology, nor the collective subject of sociology : « it speaks », there is no author, were he unique or numerous, of speeches and their effects.

Notes and references

See also


  1. Danlos (L.). 1981. « La morphosyntaxe des expressions figées ». in : Langages, 63, Septembre.
  2. Jacques Lacan, Écrits, éditions du seuil, deux volumes, Paris, 1966, réed. 1999

External links


  • Arrivé (M.). 1994. Langage et psychanalyse, linguistique et inconscient. Paris : P.U.F.
  • Cathelat (B.) & Cathelat (M.). 1992. Panorama des styles de vie 1960-90. Paris : Les Éditions d’organisation.
  • Dumarsais (C.). 1730. Des tropes ou des différents sens dans lesquels on peut prendre un même mot dans une même langue. Paris : Broca. Réédition présentée, commentée et annotée par Douay, F. (1988). Paris : Flammarion.
  • Dupriez (B.). 1984. Gradus, les procédés littéraires. Paris : 10/18.
  • Gardes-Tamine (J.). 1996. La rhétorique. Paris : Armand Colin.
  • Gardin (J.-C.) & Molino (J.). 1987. La logique du plausible, essais d'épistémologie pratique en sciences humaines. Paris : Éditions de la Maison des Sciences de l'Homme.
  • Lakoff, G., Johnson, M. (1985). Les métaphores dans la vie quotidienne. Paris : Les Éditions de Minuit.
  • Le Guern (M.). 1973. Sémantique de la métaphore et de la métonymie. Paris : Larousse.
  • Milner (J.-C.). 1989. Introduction à une science du langage. Paris : Seuil, Coll. « Des travaux ».
  • Milner (J.-C.). 1995. « Linguistique et psychanalyse ». in : Encyclopædia Universalis France [version CD-Rom].
  • Molino (J.), Soublin (F.) & Tamine (J.). 1979. « Présentation : problèmes de la métaphore ». in : Langages, 54.
  • Rastier (F.). 1987. Sémantique interprétative. Paris : P.U.F.
  • Ronat (M.). 1974. « Énonciation et « grammaire » de l'inconscient ». in : L'Arc, 58, pp. 73–78.
  • Tamba-Mecz (I.). 1981. Le sens figuré. Paris : P.U.F.
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