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Neuroscience has given us great insights into how our brains work. But there is still room for purely humanistic disciplines to help us think through our thoughts and emotions, not to mention the meaning of our lives. Mari Ruti is a professor of English literature, with expertise in critical theory, gender studies, and psychoanalysis, especially the work of French theorist Jacques Lacan. We talk about the psychological drive that is motivated by what Lacan calls “lack,” which is related to “desire.” We use this as a way to think about such essential human experiences as mourning, creativity, and love. (We don’t talk about love enough here on the podcast.)
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Mari Ruti received her Ph.D. in comparative literature from Harvard University. She is currently a Distinguished Professor of critical theory and gender and sexuality studies at the University of Toronto. She is the co-editor of the Psychoanalytic Horizons book series for Bloomsbury.