Summary: With his twentieth seminar entitled Encore (Still, 1970-1971), Jacques Lacan places a ‘point’ at the end of a sentence constituted by the combined titles of the eighteenth (Of a Discourse that Might Not Be a Semblance, 1971-1972) and nineteenth (… Or Worse, 1972-1973) seminars. Returning to the fifth (1957-1958) and sixth (1958-1959) seminars, in which Lacan described, in the context of his ‘graph of desire’, the point as that what in a chain of signifiers functions as a stop retroactively granting the chain with meaning, De Kesel presents Encore as functioning like a point that reflects on Lacan’s former seminars. Like the earlier work, Encore (Still) portrays human beings as subjects of desire. Linking people’s unquenchable desire for satisfaction to feminine jouissance and the ecstatic experiences of mystics – a fleeting, momentary fulfillment of an endless desire for the absent (divine) lover – Encore states, once more, with another set of signifiers, that the hoped-for attainment of the object of desire – the signified meaning, closure must be suspended, yet again.
Summary: This paper articulates the idea that the drive to know is the key to sexuality, and that sexuality is the key to subjectivation. It approaches Lacan’s formulae of sexuation starting from the background of Frege’s distinction between function (predicate) and object (argument) on the one hand, and propositional function and quantifier on the other hand. On this basis, the two sides of the Lacanian formulae are interpreted as ‘the all predicative’, le tout prédicat on the one hand, and the courage of the indecision on the other. That a radically escaping point is not without subjective effect, and does make a difference, epistemologically, ontologically and ethically, is what these formulae are seen to illustrate. Where possible, a comparison is being made with Kant’s transcendental philosophy and logics.
Summary: This paper aims to discuss substance use and abuse as falling beyond the pleasure principal and the deficiencies of CBT in the treatment of substance use disorders. As we continue to ponder the beginning and ending of a pandemic, lurking close behind, is the epidemic of overdoses and substance abuse. This epidemic occurred prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, only to be exacerbated by it. Rather than viewing substance use as mere mechanical activity of our bodies in functions, what we can aim to understand better is how our repetitions and behavior express some sort of desire, wish, or fantasy. In the movie Another Round (2020), it is presented that according to Norwegian psychiatrist, Finn Skårderud, human beings are born with a blood alcohol content that is 0.05% too low. This concept would add further nuance to the terms ‘substance use,’ ‘misuse,’ and ‘abuse.’ In the Critique of Practical Reason, Kant explains the thought experiment of the Gallows Man (1998, 5:30), to convey his understanding of people’s prioritization of life over lust. He also explains that a cost-benefit analysis is not enough to prioritize life. Yet, other therapeutic modalities for substance treatment encourage the use of decisional balance worksheets and cost/benefit analyses. A psychoanalytic understanding of substance use and abuse would help unveil the desire and meaning of this activity. It is not just about controlling our brain’s biochemistry or ‘self-medicating,’ but rather, an exploration of what the substance and its use really provides for the individual. In other words, substance use, misuse, or abuse, and the language used to describe the patterns and rituals of the individual are not simply cognitive and behavioral, but more so, fantastical, emotional, and dream-like.
Summary: A letter to Tacitus from Pliny the Younger discusses length and brevity in forensic oratory. Pliny appears to argue in favor of length, but the letter’s deliberate ambiguities illuminate his larger theme as the responsibility of judicial rhetoric to shape the senatorial audience’s ethical response to tyranny. Pliny’s rhetorical theory shares with Lacanian psychoanalysis a therapeutic goal: subjects’ recognition of their relationship to the law as one of desire, free by virtue of their own (paradoxical) choice of subjectivity. This paper offers a theory of Pliny’s dialogic rhetoric as a kind of ‘talking cure’ rooted in the Socratic elenchus, and a historical example of the negotiation of the ‘forced choice’ proposed by Lacan in Seminar XI. It proposes the value of Lacan’s further conceptualization of the subject-Other relationship in terms of ‘traversing the fantasy’ for interpreting subjectivity in the particular circumstance of political tyranny.
Summary: The first section of this paper traces, in brief, a conceptual evolution of psychoanalysis from its Freudian foundation in 19th century empirical science to Lacan’s reformulation of psychoanalytic method, based in part on mid-20th century structural linguistics, as one that is not, strictly speaking, scientific. Throughout this movement, the therapeutic aim and the medium of speech remain at the center of psychoanalytic praxis. The author, therefore, explores the questions: what is speech and what is at stake for human subjects in speaking? In part two, parallels are drawn between four (ana)logical pairings of conceptual moments in Freudo-Lacanian and Hegelian theory in order to elucidate dynamic and topological intricacies in each. The Oedipus complex is described as a dialectical unfolding, wherein Hegelian and Freudian theorizing and Lacanian mythmaking are, similarly, creative retorts to contradiction and ambivalence. These subjective responses effect the Aufhebung or Verdrängung (in neurosis) of the conflictual impasse, and institute a vehicle for the transgenerational transmission of Kultur—what Hegel called Geist and Freud rendered Unbewusst.