Lacanian Ethics and the Assumption of Subjectivity
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A readable and advanced introductory-level text focusing on the ethical dimensions and impact of Lacan's thinking. This book argues that a rethinking of the subject necessitates a rethinking of our relation to law, tradition and morality, as well as our understanding of guilt, responsibility and desire.
Subjectivity, Calum Neill 34 Lacanian Ethics and the Assumption of Subjectivity S(A) A Signifiant Voix m i(a) I(A) S Graph II In the second graph, the barred subject moves over to occupy the position previously held by the Δ, the retrospectively posited intention. It is important to hold in mind here that, as already stated, Lacan’s series of graphs is not indicative of any subjective development wherein the subject, in the point in case, would come to supersede the mythical
drive desire Figure 2.1 10.1057/9780230305038 - Lacanian Ethics and the Assumption of Subjectivity, Calum Neill The Graph of Desire 53 If demand can be understood as the moment of intervention by language, that is, as the splitting or aphanisis of the subject in its alienation between being and meaning, then the drive would have to be situated on the side of the symbolic. It is as such that the drive can be understood as ‘that which proceeds from demand when the subject disappears in it’
(Ibid.) What Zˇizˇek’s interpretation occludes is the fact that, despite the impossibility of inverting the terms of the dream/fantasy to which he correctly attests, the parable does contain two instances of fantasy. While only one instance can, as Lacan conﬁrms, be understood as a dream, 10.1057/9780230305038 - Lacanian Ethics and the Assumption of Subjectivity, Calum Neill 66 Lacanian Ethics and the Assumption of Subjectivity fantasy is not reducible to dream states – we fantasise when
lying. If one is not lying, then one’s claim to be lying cannot be true, in which case one is lying. Either way, the statement reads back on itself to render it effectively meaningless. Effectively meaningless, that is, unless one assumes the presence of two subjects pertaining to the claim, the subject who is speaking and the subject who is spoken of. Clearly, if one were to make a similar claim about someone else, there would be no contradiction. One can accurately describe someone else as
comprehension precisely insofar as the response is a response towards that which cannot be grasped. Where one reacts to an encounter with that which is familiar by identifying it, by compartmentalising it with its type, such luxury is not afforded by the epiphany of the face which announces that which would have no compartment, which is beyond typiﬁcation. As such, for 10.1057/9780230305038 - Lacanian Ethics and the Assumption of Subjectivity, Calum Neill Beyond Difference 171 Levinas, the