“If there is a God, then anything is permitted” (Dostoevsky’s meta-theme in Jacques Lacan’s psychoanalytic interpretation)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Ivan Karamazov’s famous dictum ‘If there is no God, anything is permitted’ in fact appears as a central meta-theme in many of Dostoevsky’s works. Western philosophers and writers repeatedly reinterpreted this idea. The most recent versions belong to the contemporary psychoanalytic and Freudian–Marxist philosophy. E.g. Jacques Lacan famously said that “if there is a God, then anything is permitted”, and Slavoy Zizek attributed this to Dostoevsky himself. The paper demonstrates which versions of this saying are present in Dostoevsky’s novel The Brothers Karamazov, what meaning this meta-theme has within the integral structure of these literary works, and which of them express the author’s own position. The paper also provides insight into those bright reinterpretations of Dostoevsky’s central meta-theme that were given by certain representatives of contemporary European psychoanalytic philosophy. These readings are regarded as the significant attempts to explain the present from the standpoint of European psychoanalytic philosophy, made on the basis of elements of Dostoevsky’s artistic thinking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-239
Number of pages13
JournalStudies in East European Thought
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Dec 2020

Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Law


  • Contemporary
  • Dostoevsky
  • European
  • Lacan
  • Philosophy
  • Psychoanalytic


Dive into the research topics of '“If there is a God, then anything is permitted” (Dostoevsky’s meta-theme in Jacques Lacan’s psychoanalytic interpretation)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this