Names-of-the-Father: Zizek’s Return to Lacan’s Return to Freud
Weber, John M.
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In Ecrits, Lacan often characterizes Frued’s work as posing, the question, what is a father? The question ought not to be interpreted as some question of gender roles and norms, rather, it address the very operations of language. Pyschoanalysis must then be radically opposed to pyschology. While psychology studies behavior, it is psychoanalysis that structures its discourse such that the intrusion of the signifier into the human being is taken into account. At the level of the signifier, we find the very conditions for subjectivity. The Name-of-the-Father, as I shall show, is not the identification of the behavior of a father, but the installation of signification, the first mark scrawled in the sand. This project is then a philosophical pillaging of psychoanalytic discourse. I act as one of Nietzche’s bad readers that take only what they need. Writing as a philosopher rather than an analyst, I “borrow” from psychoanalysis a conception of the “Copernican turn” toward Otherness, the notion that the human being is alienated from their own being, and a thesi on desire, language, and their conjuction in the unconscious. Lacan’s formulaiton, “the unconscious is the discourse of the Other,” I understand as the absolute mediation of subjectivity through symbolically achieved recognition. However, I contrast the transparency of a Habersian understanding of recognitive sociality with the “structure of misrecognition” that constitues the locus of the Other. My philosophical tack is then a reworking, through a fair amount of existentialism, of the classic postmodern critique of modernity. I level technocratic discourse agianst the ideals of autonomous reason and search for a way to account for a subject that is niether an ideal rational agent nor a strictly embodied being-in-the-world, but a subject that lives out his or her splitting in language.
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