CriticaLink | Lacan: The Mirror Stage | Terms


Object may appear to need no definition--we all know what "things" are--but the term takes on a somewhat specialized meaning in philosophy and psychoanalysis. In philosophy, the "object," the passive thing that serves as the content of conscious observation, is contrasted with the "subject," the conscious agent who observes the object. In attempting to understand the relationship between subject and object, psychoanalysis describes "objects" that have been cathected, invested with libidinal energy. These objects can be other people (the "object of one's affections") or anything else (including abstract concepts like "freedom" or "justice") that serves as a focal point of desire.