Author: Alenka Zupancic
Publisher: MIT Press
Why sexuality is at the point of a "short circuit" between ontology and epistemology.
Author: Mladen Dolar
Publisher: MIT Press
Plutarch tells the story of a man who plucked a nightingale and finding but little to eat exclaimed: "You are just a voice and nothing more." Plucking the feathers of meaning that cover the voice, dismantling the body from which the voice seems to emanate, resisting the Sirens' song of fascination with the voice, concentrating on "the voice and nothing more": this is the difficult task that philosopher Mladen Dolar relentlessly pursues in this seminal work.The voice did not figure as a major philosophical topic until the 1960s, when Derrida and Lacan separately proposed it as a central theoretical concern. In A Voice and Nothing More Dolar goes beyond Derrida's idea of "phonocentrism" and revives and develops Lacan's claim that the voice is one of the paramount embodiments of the psychoanalytic object (objet a). Dolar proposes that, apart from the two commonly understood uses of the voice as a vehicle of meaning and as a source of aesthetic admiration, there is a third level of understanding: the voice as an object that can be seen as the lever of thought. He investigates the object voice on a number of different levels -- the linguistics of the voice, the metaphysics of the voice, the ethics of the voice (with the voice of conscience), the paradoxical relation between the voice and the body, the politics of the voice -- and he scrutinizes the uses of the voice in Freud and Kafka. With this foundational work, Dolar gives us a philosophically grounded theory of the voice as a Lacanian object-cause.
Author: Slavoj Žižek
Publisher: MIT Press
If the most interesting theoretical interventions emerge today from the interspaces between fields, then the foremost interspaceman is Slavoj Žižek. In Incontinence of the Void (the title is inspired by a sentence in Samuel Beckett's late masterpiece Ill Seen Ill Said), Žižek explores the empty spaces between philosophy, psychoanalysis, and the critique of political economy. He proceeds from the universal dimension of philosophy to the particular dimension of sexuality to the singular dimension of the critique of political economy. The passage from one dimension to another is immanent: the ontological void is accessible only through the impasses of sexuation and the ongoing prospect of the abolition of sexuality, which is itself opened up by the technoscientific progress of global capitalism, in turn leading to the critique of political economy. Responding to his colleague and fellow Short Circuits author Alenka Zupancic's What Is Sex?, Žižek examines the notion of an excessive element in ontology that gives body to radical negativity, which becomes the antagonism of sexual difference. From the economico-philosophical perspective, Žižek extrapolates from ontological excess to Marxian surplus value to Lacan's surplus enjoyment. In true Žižekian fashion, Incontinence of the Void focuses on eternal topics while detouring freely into contemporary issuesfrom the Internet of Things to Danish TV series.
Notes on a Passion
Author: Anca Parvulescu
Publisher: MIT Press
Uncovering an archive of laughter, from the forbidden giggle to the explosive guffaw.
Author: Alenka Zupančič
The idea of Kantian ethics is both simple and revolutionary: it proposes a moral law independent of any notion of a pre-establishment of fear. In attempting to interpret sucha a revcolutionary proposition in a more 'humane' light, and to turn Kant into our contemporary—someone who can help us with our own ethical dilemmas—many Kantian scholars have glossed over its apparent paradoxes and impossible claims. This book is concerned with doing exactly the opposite. Kant, thank God, is not our contemporary; he stands against the grain of our times. Lacan on the face of it appears to be the very antithesis of Kant—the wild theorist of psychoanalysis compared to the sober Enlightenment figure. His concept of the Real, however, provides perhaps the most useful backdrop to this new interpretation of Kantian ethics. Constantly juxtaposing her readings of the two philosophers, Alenka Zupancic summons up and 'ethics of the Real', and clears the ground for a radical restoration of the disruptive element in ethics.
Author: Nusselder, André
Publisher: MIT Press
Cyberspace is first and foremost a mental space. Therefore we need to take a psychological approach to understand our experiences in it. In Interface Fantasy, André Nusselder uses the core psychoanalytic notion of fantasy to examine our relationship to computers and digital technology. Lacanian psychoanalysis considers fantasy to be an indispensable "screen" for our interaction with the outside world; Nusselder argues that, at the mental level, computer screens and other human-computer interfaces incorporate this function of fantasy: they mediate the real and the virtual. Interface Fantasy illuminates our attachment to new media: why we love our devices; why we are fascinated by the images on their screens; and how it is possible that virtual images can provide physical pleasure. Nusselder puts such phenomena as avatars, role playing, cybersex, computer psychotherapy, and Internet addiction in the context of established psychoanalytic theory. The virtual identities we assume in virtual worlds, exemplified best by avatars consisting of both realistic and symbolic self-representations, illustrate the three orders that Lacan uses to analyze human reality: the imaginary, the symbolic, and the real. Nusselder analyzes our most intimate involvement with information technology--the almost invisible, affective aspects of technology that have the greatest impact on our lives. Interface Fantasy lays the foundation for a new way of thinking that acknowledges the pivotal role of the screen in the current world of information. And it gives an intelligible overview of basic Lacanian principles (including fantasy, language, the virtual, the real, embodiment, and enjoyment) that shows their enormous relevance for understanding the current state of media technology.
Author: Tim Dean
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Beyond Sexuality points contemporary sexual politics in a radically new direction. Combining a psychoanalytic emphasis on the unconscious with a deep respect for the historical variability of sexual identities, this original work of queer theory makes the case for viewing erotic desire as fundamentally impersonal. Tim Dean develops a reading of Jacques Lacan that—rather than straightening out this notoriously difficult French psychoanalyst—brings out the queer tensions and productive incoherencies in his account of desire. Dean shows how the Lacanian unconscious "deheterosexualizes" desire, and along the way he reveals how psychoanalytic thinkers as well as queer theorists have failed to exploit the full potential of this conception of desire. The book elaborates this by investigating social fantasies about homosexuality and AIDS, including gay men's own fantasies about sex and promiscuity, in an attempt to illuminate the challenges facing safe-sex education. Taking on many shibboleths in contemporary psychoanalysis and queer theory—and taking no prisoners—Beyond Sexuality offers an antidote to hagiographical strains in recent work on psychoanalysis, Foucault, and sexuality.
Bridges from Psychoanalysis to Philosophy
Author: Alejandro Cerda-Rueda
Publisher: Karnac Books
From its etymological roots, sex is related to a scission, Latin for sectus, secare, meaning “to divide or cut.” Therefore, regardless of the various studies applied to defining sex as inscribed by discursive acts, i.e. merely a ‘performatively enacted signification,’ there is something more to sex than just a social construction or an aprioristic substance. Sex is irreducible to meaning or knowledge. This is why psychoanalysis cannot be formulated as an erotology nor a science of sex (scientia sexualis). Following this argumentation, in the final class of his eleventh seminar, Lacan asserts that psychoanalysis has proven to be uncreative in the realm of sexuality. Henceforth, sex does not engrave itself within the symbolic: only the failure of its inscription is marked in the symbolic. In this matter, sex escapes the symbolic restraints of language; however, it is through its failure that it manifests itself through the symbolic, e.g. symptoms or dream life. So, what is sex? Sex and Nothing embarks upon a dialogue between colleagues and friends interested in bridging psychoanalysis and philosophy, linking sex and thought, where what emerges is a greater awareness of the irreducucibility of sex to the discourse of knowledge and meaning: in other words, sex and nothing.
Author: Roger N. Lancaster
Publisher: Univ of California Press
Category: Social Science
One evening, while watching the news, Roger N. Lancaster was startled by a report that a friend, a gay male school teacher, had been arrested for a sexually based crime. The resulting hysteria threatened to ruin the life of an innocent man. In this passionate and provocative book, Lancaster blends astute analysis, robust polemic, ethnography, and personal narrative to delve into the complicated relationship between sexuality and punishment in our society. Drawing on classical social science, critical legal studies, and queer theory, he tracks the rise of a modern suburban culture of fear and develops new insights into the punitive logic that has put down deep roots in everyday American life.
Logic and God in Lacan
Author: Lorenzo Chiesa
Publisher: MIT Press
In The Not-Two, Lorenzo Chiesa examines the treatment of logic and God in Lacan's later work. Chiesa draws for the most part from Lacan's Seminars of the early 1970s, as they revolve around the axiom "There is no sexual relationship." Chiesa provides both a close reading of Lacan's effort to formalize sexual difference as incompleteness and an assessment of its broader implications for philosophical realism and materialism. Chiesa argues that "There is no sexual relationship" is for Lacan empirically and historically circumscribed by psychoanalysis, yet self-evident in our everyday lives. Lacan believed that we have sex because we love, and that love is a desire to be One in face of the absence of the sexual relationship. Love presupposes a real "not-two." The not-two condenses the idea that our love and sex lives are dictated by the impossibility of fusing man's contradictory being with the heteros of woman as a fundamentally uncountable Other. Sexual liaisons are sustained by a transcendental logic, the so-called phallic function that attempts to overcome this impossibility. Chiesa also focuses on Lacan's critical dialogue with modern science and formal logic, as well as his dismantling of sexuality as considered by mainstream biological discourse. Developing a new logic of sexuation based on incompleteness requires the relinquishing of any alleged logos of life and any teleological evolution. For Lacan, the truth of incompleteness as approached psychoanalytically through sexuality would allow us to go further in debunking traditional onto-theology and replace it with a "para-ontology" yet to be developed. Given the truth of incompleteness, Chiesa asks, can we think such a truth in itself without turning incompleteness into another truth about truth, that is, into yet another figure of God as absolute being?
Ethics and Sublimation
Author: Joan Copjec
Publisher: MIT Press
A psychoanalytic and philosophical exploration of sublimation as a key term in Jacques Lacan's theories of ethics and feminine sexuality. Jacques Lacan claimed that his theory of feminine sexuality, including the infamous proposition, "the Woman does not exist," constituted a revision of his earlier work on "the ethics of psychoanalysis." In Imagine There's No Woman, Joan Copjec shows how Freud's ragtag, nearly incoherent notion of sublimation was refashioned by Lacan to become the key term in his ethics. To trace the link between feminine being and Lacan's ethics of sublimation, Copjec argues, one must take the negative proposition about the woman's existence not as just another nominalist denunciation of thought's illusions about the existence of universals, but as recognition of the power of thought, which posits and gives birth to the difference of objects from themselves. While the relativist position currently dominant insists on the difference between my views and another's, Lacan insists on this difference within the object I see. The popular position fuels the disaffection with which we regard a world in a state of decomposition, whereas the Lacanian alternative urges our investment in a world that awaits our invention. In the book's first part, Copjec explores positive acts of invention/sublimation: Antigone's burial of her brother, the silhouettes by the young black artist Kara Walker, Cindy Sherman's Untitled Film Stills, and Stella Dallas's final gesture toward her daughter in the well-known melodrama. In the second part, the focus shifts to sublimation's adversary, the cruelly uncreative superego, as Copjec analyzes Kant's concept of radical evil, envy's corruption of liberal demands for equality and justice, and the difference between sublimation and perversion. Maintaining her focus on artistic texts, she weaves her arguments through discussions of Pasolini's Salo, the film noir classic Laura, and the Zapruder film of the Kennedy assassination.
Two Lessons on Lacan
Author: Alain Badiou,Barbara Cassin
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Published in 1973, "L'Etourdit" was one of the French philosopher Jacques Lacan's most important works. The book posed questions that traversed the entire body of Lacan's psychoanalytical explorations, including his famous idea that "there is no such thing as a sexual relationship," which seeks to undermine our certainties about intimacy and reality. In There's No Such Thing as a Sexual Relationship, Alain Badiou and Barbara Cassin take possession of Lacan's short text, thinking "with" Lacan about his propositions and what kinds of questions they raise in relation to knowledge. Cassin considers the relationship of the real to language through a Sophist lens, while the Platonist Badiou unpacks philosophical claims about truth. Each of their contributions echoes back to one another, offering new ways of thinking about Lacan, his seminal ideas, and his role in advancing philosophical thought.
Author: Alenka Zupančič,Zupan&
Publisher: Mit Press
Why philosophize about comedy? What is the use of investigating the comical fromphilosophical and psychoanalytic perspectives? In The Odd One In, Alenka Zupancic [haceks over bothcs] considers how philosophy and psychoanalysis can help us understand the movement and the logicinvolved in the practice of comedy, and how comedy can help philosophy and psychoanalysis recognizesome of the crucial mechanisms and vicissitudes of what is called humanity. Comedy by its nature isdifficult to pin down with concepts and definitions, but as artistic form and social practice comedyis a mode of tarrying with a foreign object--of including the exception. Philosophy's relationshipto comedy, Zupancic [haceks over both cs] writes, is not exactly a simple story (and indeed includessome elements of comedy). It could begin with the lost book of Aristotle's Poetics, which discussedcomedy and laughter (and was made famous by Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose). But Zupancic[haceks over both cs] draws on a whole range of philosophers and exemplars of comedy, fromAristophanes, Molière, Hegel, Freud, and Lacan to George W. Bush and Borat. She distinguishesincisively between comedy and ideologically imposed, "naturalized" cheerfulness. Real,subversive comedy thrives on the short circuits that establish an immediate connection betweenheterogeneous orders. Zupancic [haceks over both cs] examines the mechanisms and processes by whichcomedy lets the odd one in. Alenka Zupancic [haceks over both cs] is Senior Research Fellow at theInstitute of Philosophy, Slovene Academy of Sciences, Ljubljana. She is the author of The ShortestShadow: Nietzsche's Philosophy of the Two (MIT Press, 2003).
Deleuze and Psychoanalysis
Author: Aaron Schuster
Publisher: MIT Press
An investigation into the strange and troublesome relationship to pleasure that defines the human being, drawing on the disparate perspectives of Deleuze and Lacan.
On the Art of Living Absently
Author: Alexi Kukuljevic
Publisher: MIT Press
In Liquidation World, Alexi Kukuljevic examines a distinctive form of subjectivity animating the avant-garde: that of the darkly humorous and utterly disoriented subject of modernity, a dissolute figure that makes an art of its own vacancy, an object of its absence. Shorn of the truly rotten illusion that the world is a fulfilling and meaningful place, these subjects identify themselves by a paradoxical disidentification -- through the objects that take their places. They have mastered the art of living absently, of making something with nothing. Traversing their own morbid obsessions, they substitute the nonsensical for sense, the ridiculous for the meaningful. Kukuljevic analyzes a series of artistic practices that illuminate this subjectivity, ranging from Marcel Duchamp's Three Standard Stoppages to Charles Baudelaire's melancholia. He considers the paradox of Duchamp's apparatus in the Stoppages and the strange comedy of Marcel Broodthaers's relation to the readymade; the comic subject in Jacques Vaché and the ridiculous subject in Alfred Jarry; the nihilist in Paul Valéry's Monsieur Teste; Oswald Wiener's interpretation of the dandy; and Charles Baudelaire as a happy melancholic. Along the way, he also touches on the work of Thomas Bernhard, Andy Kaufman, Buster Keaton, and others. Finally, he offers an extended analysis of Danny's escape from his demented father in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining. Each of these subjects is, in Freud's terms, sick -- sick in the specific sense that they assume the absence of meaning and the liquidation of value in the world. They concern themselves with art, without assuming its value or meaning. Utterly debased, fundamentally disoriented, they take the void as their medium.
Author: Genevieve Morel
Publisher: Karnac Books
How does one become a man or a woman? Psychoanalysis shows that this is never an easy task and that each of us tackles it in our own, unique way. In this important and original study, Genevieve Morel focuses on what analytic work with psychotic subjects can teach us about the different solutions human beings can construct to the question of sexual identity.Through a careful exposition of Lacanian theory, Morel argues that classical gender theory is misguided in its notion of 'gender identity' and that Lacan's concept of 'sexuation' is more precise. Clinical case studies illustrate how sexuation occurs and the ambiguities that may surround it. In psychosis, these ambiguities are often central, and Morel explores how they may or may not be resolved thanks to the individual's own constructions. This book is not only a major contribution to gender studies but also an invaluable aid to the clinician dealing with questions of sexual identity.
The Other Side of Absolute Knowing
Author: Rebecca Comay,Frank Ruda
Publisher: MIT Press
An argument that what is usually dismissed as the “mystical shell” of Hegel's thought—the concept of absolute knowledge—is actually its most “rational kernel.” This book sets out from a counterintuitive premise: the “mystical shell” of Hegel's system proves to be its most “rational kernel.” Hegel's radicalism is located precisely at the point where his thought seems to regress most. Most current readings try to update Hegel's thought by pruning back his grandiose claims to “absolute knowing.” Comay and Ruda invert this deflationary gesture by inflating what seems to be most trivial: the absolute is grasped only in the minutiae of its most mundane appearances. Reading Hegel without presupposition, without eliminating anything in advance or making any decision about what is essential and what is inessential, what is living and what is dead, they explore his presentation of the absolute to the letter. The Dash is organized around a pair of seemingly innocuous details. Hegel punctuates strangely. He ends the Phenomenology of Spirit with a dash, and he begins the Science of Logic with a dash. This distinctive punctuation reveals an ambiguity at the heart of absolute knowing. The dash combines hesitation and acceleration. Its orientation is simultaneously retrospective and prospective. It both holds back and propels. It severs and connects. It demurs and insists. It interrupts and prolongs. It generates nonsequiturs and produces explanations. It leads in all directions: continuation, deviation, meaningless termination. This challenges every cliché about the Hegelian dialectic as a machine of uninterrupted teleological progress. The dialectical movement is, rather, structured by intermittency, interruption, hesitation, blockage, abruption, and random, unpredictable change—a rhythm that displays all the vicissitudes of the Freudian drive.
A Century of Bad Laws, Good Sex, and Changing Identities
Author: Eric Berkowitz
The act of reproduction, and all of its variants, have been practiced in roughly the same ways since the beginning, but our ideas about the meaning and consequences of sex are in constant flux. At any given point in time, some forms of sex have been encouraged, while others have been punished without mercy. Jump forward or backward a century, or cross a border, and the harmless fun of one society becomes the gravest crime in another. Beginning at the point when courts guarded the sanctity of the “family home by permitting men to rape their wives, continuing on through the “sexual revolution, a period that transformed traditional notions of childhood and marriage, and extending into the present day (where debates surrounding gay marriage, sex trafficking, and sex on the internet are part of our daily lives), Berkowitz explores the ways nearly every aspect of Western sexual morality has been turned on its head, with the law always one or two steps behind. By focusing on the experiences of real people who played central roles in the formation of our sexual rights, Berkowitz adds a compelling human element to what might otherwise be faceless legal battles—ultimately arguing that compassion for others is always preferable to sanctimonious condemnation, and that questions about morals and sexual laws are too complicated and volatile to resolve through simple, catch-all solutions.
Author: Chris Kraus
Publisher: MIT Press
A self-described failed filmmaker falls obsessively in love with her theorist-husband's colleague: a manifesto for a new kind of feminism and the power of first-person narration.
A Breakthrough Understanding of How Men and Boys Think
Author: Louann Brizendine, M.D.
From the author of the groundbreaking New York Times bestseller The Female Brain, here is the eagerly awaited follow-up book that demystifies the puzzling male brain. Dr. Louann Brizendine, the founder of the first clinic in the country to study gender differences in brain, behavior, and hormones, turns her attention to the male brain, showing how, through every phase of life, the "male reality" is fundamentally different from the female one. Exploring the latest breakthroughs in male psychology and neurology with her trademark accessibility and candor, she reveals that the male brain: *is a lean, mean, problem-solving machine. Faced with a personal problem, a man will use his analytical brain structures, not his emotional ones, to find a solution. *thrives under competition, instinctively plays rough and is obsessed with rank and hierarchy. *has an area for sexual pursuit that is 2.5 times larger than the female brain, consuming him with sexual fantasies about female body parts. *experiences such a massive increase in testosterone at puberty that he perceive others' faces to be more aggressive. The Male Brain finally overturns the stereotypes. Impeccably researched and at the cutting edge of scientific knowledge, this is a book that every man, and especially every woman bedeviled by a man, will need to own. Praise for The Female Brain: "Louann Brizendine has done a great favor for every man who wants to understand the puzzling women in his life. A breezy and enlightening guide to women and a must-read for men." —Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence From the Hardcover edition.