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Subjectivity and Otherness: A Philosophical Reading of Lacan [Format Kindle]

Lorenzo Chiesa

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Countering the call by some "pro-Lacanians" for an end to the exegesis of Lacan's work -- and the dismissal by "anti-Lacanians" of Lacan as impossibly impenetrable -- Subjectivity and Otherness argues for Lacan as a "paradoxically systematic" thinker, and for the necessity of a close analysis of his texts. Lorenzo Chiesa examines, from a philosophical perspective, the evolution of the concept of subjectivity in Lacan's work, carrying out a detailed reading of the Lacanian subject in its necessary relation to otherness according to Lacan's orders of the Imaginary, the Symbolic, and the Real. Chiesa emphasizes the continuity underlying apparently incompatible phases of Lacan's examination of the subject, describing Lacan's theory as a consistent philosophical system -- but one that is constantly revised and therefore problematic. Chiesa analyzes each "old" theory of the subject within the framework of a "new" elaboration and reassesses its fundamental tenets from the perspective of a general psychoanalytic discourse that becomes increasingly complex. From the 1960s on, writes Chiesa, the Lacanian subject amounts to an irreducible lack that must be actively confronted and assumed; this "subjectivized lack," Chiesa argues further, offers an escape from the contemporary impasse between the "death of the subject" alleged by postmodernism and a return to a traditional "substantialist" notion of the subject. An original treatment of psychoanalytic issues, Subjectivity and Otherness fills a significant gap in the existing literature on Lacan, taking seriously the need for a philosophical investigation of Lacanian concepts.

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  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 2405 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 248 pages
  • Editeur : The MIT Press; Édition : 1 (28 septembre 2007)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00913BHDQ
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Amazon.com: 3.8 étoiles sur 5  4 commentaires
20 internautes sur 21 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Best short philosophical intro to Lacan 23 février 2008
Par noeton - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Lacanophile's need not have any doubt about the merits of this book. Note that is belongs in Zizek's "Short Circuits" series. Just buy it. It's perhaps the most important 2ndary to come out on Lacan in some years.

But if you're new to us, the book is a well argued, in depth account of Lacan's development. Really good intro to Lacan that is specifically engaged with philosophy of subjectivity. Quite accessible, but not dumbed-down in the least. I would recommend this along with Bruce Fink's "The Lacanian Subject: Between Language & Jouissance." Taken together, they set one up to engage with this otherwise impenetrable but absolutely indispensable thinker.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Working Through Lacan 12 juillet 2009
Par Etienne RP - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
It is said that you have to read Lacan five or six times in order to understand a particular passage, let alone the whole oeuvre. Lorenzo Chiesa's Subjectivity and Otherness will save you time. It presents a philosophical reading of Lacan, which is to say the only possible reading if one is to take Lacan not as a master charlatan, nor as "a kind of prophet who should be interpreted in a rhapsodic, semi-possessed manner", but as a serious thinker worthy of intellectual consideration.

Each part of the book elaborates upon an emblematic formula that introduces a moment in Lacanian thought, thematized along the three orders of the Imaginary, the Symbolic and the Real as they pertain to the relation between the subject and the other. These three moments show a shift in the disciplines mobilized by Lacan and an increase in complexity for the reader.

Lacan refers at first to Kojeve's dictum that "desire is the desire of the other" and adopts his interpretation of Hegel's dialectics. His reading of the mirror stage unfolds a drama of identification and alienation, by which the subject is finally able to recognize the other as other, much like in the rendering by Kojeve of Hegel's text on Lordship and Bondage. In his early work, "not only does Lacan attempts to read Freud's psychoanalytic technique in dialectical terms, he also develops a new psychoanalytic theory that audaciously combines Hegelian philosophy with the evidence drawn from ethological and psychological experiments to provide us with a highly original theory of the subject's psychic development." Any reader with a working knowledge of Hegel will be able to follow Chiesa's exposition of the conceptualizations emblematic of the first Lacan; familiarity with Freud's work is not even a requisite.

In the mid-1950s, Lacan's overall psychoanalytic theory undergoes a radical reformulation which can be summarized by the dictum "The unconscious is structured like a language". The reference here is not so much Hegelian dialectics and has more to do with the dominance of structuralism in linguistics and anthropology (although Chiesa believes that Lacan's "militancy in the structuralist movement is, at best, a heterodox one"). Lacan appropriates Saussure's distinction between the signifier and the signified, and Jakobson's laws of metaphor and metonymy, along with Levi-Strauss' notion that the Symbolic order provides the fundamental Law of society. He also builds upon his own concepts such as the "quilting point" (or retroactive punctuation: "it is only when the sentence is completed that the sense of the first words is determined retroactively"), the Master-Signifier (the empty signifier that fixes the meaning of a symbolic system), the "Name-of-the-Father" (the signifier that confers identity to the subject, naming and positioning the subject within the Symbolic order).

These methods and concepts are combined with a rereading of Freud to create Lacan's original brand of psychoanalysis. The dialectic method is not completely discarded. In Lacan's work, the Oedipus complex unfolds in three logically sequenced stages that each built on the sentiment of a lack (frustration at the absence of the maternal object, privation when the child realize that the mother "doesn't have it", castration as "the symbolic lack of an imaginary object"). Oedipus complex is completely resolved when the child, irrespective of sex, identifies symbolically with the father, internalizes the Law and successfully enters the Symbolic order. In his discussion of Lacan, Chiesa addresses seemingly arcane questions that nonetheless make sense in the context of his argumentation: "What is the difference between conscious-diachronic and unconscious-synchronic metonymy? Why is metaphor also said to represent a vertical quilting point? Is there a way to pinpoint appropriately the distinction between the Name-of-the-Father and the phallus?" As one imagines, there are no easy answers, but readers already versed in Lacanese will follow the discussion with jubilation and excitement.

Placed under the heading that "there is no Other of the Other", the third part deploys Lacanian concepts in full swing. The main focus of Lacan's late research is still directed at the subject of the unconscious, but the unconscious is now to be conceived as not being completely exhausted by the presence of signifiers: there is something real in it which escapes the symbolic, something which renders the symbolic Other "not-all" and, for the same reason, makes it possible precisely as a differential symbolic structure. Lacan names this lack "objet a", a nonspecularizable remainder, a void or hollow that remains at the frontier between the Imaginary and the Real. This last juncture raises the question of jouissance, of a "pleasure in pain" that regulates the unconscious life of the subject and is intimately linked to the order of the Real.

As this collage summary implies, this last part is more like a members-only section, and readers unfamiliar with Lacan's concepts are in for a hard read. A good lexicon of Lacanese terms will be of valuable help, but of course a dictionary or a digest are no substitutes to thinking in action, and the reader will have no other alternative than to progress patiently through the text. But with some backtracking and occasional re-readings of key parts, the whole more or less makes sense. As the author confesses, he has to fill in some gaps in Lacan's text to make it intelligible, and he dropped some parts such as the graphs and references to topology that are totally obscure to non-mathematicians (and mostly nonsensical for scientists). But as Chiese statse in the introduction, intellectual clarity is to be preferred to impressionistic reading or wild interpretations.

The remaining question is: what for? In a revealing passage, Chiesa recalls that "in Seminar XVII Lacan candidly admits that the Oedipus complex is, after all, simply Freud's 'dream', his own myth. On similar lines, we might suggest that the Name-of-the-Father is simply Lacan's own mythical reinterpretation of Freud's own discoveries filtered through the tradition of modern philosophy and the history of science. It must, however, be stressed that, in Lacan's view, the mythical origin of many of the axioms of psychoanalytic theory does not by any means diminish their epistemological validity." Lacan's validity and relevance are ultimately a matter of belief, not reasoning, and we are left with the freedom to call his myths our own.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Sofisticated Primer 21 avril 2010
Par mahipal - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Jaques Lacan together with Martin Heidegger (I tried "What is Thinking") are two Philosophers which I simply could not read in their original form. On the other hand both of them touched ideas that were very dear to me (like Beeing and the Real). I neeeded a primer. I followed the advice of another of the reviewers who suggested to start with "Bruce Fink's "The Lacanian Subject: Between Language & Jouissance" and follow it up with Chiesa's book. I found both of them to be exellent.
I am glad that I read them at a mature age because digesting them at a purely intellectual level would be quite arduous and sensless. At the end of his book Lorenzo Chiesa approaches difficult subjects as "desire", "phantasy/object-a", "jouissance" , "death-drive" and of course "the Real". Eventhough occasionally challenging, this book dared to interpret life's hidden side, it's dirty little secret so to speak, with clarity and consistency. But be prepared: If the bare cover turns you off, this book is probably not for you!
0 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 J.B Botul as a Source --Say What? 11 février 2010
Par R. micallef - Publié sur Amazon.com
Should I be suspicious of a text that cites approvingly from the fictitious (hoax) philosopher, J.B. Botul? The author appears to take this source seriously...
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