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Derrida Vis--vis Lacan

Interweaving Deconstruction and Psychoanalysis

Andrea Hurst

Publication Year: 2008

Derrida and Lacan have long been viewed as proponents of two opposing schools of thought. This book argues, however, that the logical structure underpinning Lacanian psychoanalytic theory is a complex, paradoxical relationality that corresponds to Derrida's plural logic of the aporia.Andrea Hurst begins by linking this logic to a strand of thinking (in which Freud plays a part) that unsettles philosophy's transcendental tradition. She then shows that Derrida is just as serious and careful a reader of Freud's texts as Lacan. Interweaving the two thinkers, she argues that the Lacanian Real is another name for Derrida's diffrance and shows how Derrida's writings on Heidegger and Nietzsche embody an attitude toward sexual difference and feminine sexuality that matches Lacanian insights. Derrida's plural logic of the aporia,she argues, can serve as a heuristic for addressing prominent themes in Lacanian psychoanalysis: subjectivity, ethics, and language. Finally, she takes up Derrida's prejudicial reading of Lacan's Seminar on 'The Purloined Letter,'which was instrumental in the antagonism between Derrideans and Lacanians. Although acknowledging the injustice of Derrida's reading, the author brings out the deep theoretical accord between thinkers that both recognize the power of psychoanalysis to address contemporary political and ethical issues.

Published by: Fordham University Press

Derrida Vis-a`-vis Lacan- Title

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xii

This study grew out of an exchange of ideas with Bert Olivier, who was wrestling with Lacanian psychoanalytic theory while I was similarly engaged with Derrida’s quasi-transcendental thinking. It was he who first suggested to me that there were moments in Lacan’s writing that readily agreed with ...

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pp. 1-14

And it is with this event, this justly deserved and spectacular homage to Lacan, that I was happy to be asked to associate myself. Not only but also because, in our time—and I mean the time of culture and especially Parisian culture—I find a political significance in this homage. I consider it an act of cultural ...

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Part 1 From Transcendentals to Quasi-Transcendentals

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pp. 15-18

It would certainly pay dividends to examine, along with Husserl and other thinkers who have inventively appropriated Kantian insights, what nevertheless remains unsatisfying about Kant’s transcendental philosophy. One could, with Derrida, also consider what goes against itself in Husserlian phenomenology ...

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Chapter 1 The "Ruin" of the Transcendental Tradition

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pp. 19-45

The word "ontology," derived from the Greek word for "being," is often reduced to a name for the branch of metaphysics that concerns itself with characterizing what exists via, as Simon Blackburn puts it, "a priori arguments that the world must contain certain things of one kind or another: simple things, ...

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Chapter 2 Freud and the Transcendental Relation

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pp. 46-71

In his daily practice, Freud saw an extraordinary contamination: fantasy mixed with reality, discrepancies, conflicts, excessive certainties and uncertainties, symptomatic gaps, slips, blindness, resistances, denials, selfdeceptions, and so on, making it impossible to draw a distinct line between delusion and truth ...

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Chapter 3 Derrida: Différance and the "Plural Logic of the Aporia"

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pp. 72-112

If Derrida’s name is almost synonymous with mad misunderstandings, perhaps one has to grant that his texts are frustrating to read at the best of times. Take, for example, his insistence that to ask the question "what is Différance?" is already to have misunderstood what he means by this nickname, ...

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Part 2 Derrida Reading Freud:The Paradoxes of Archivization

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pp. 113-118

While, no doubt, countless other pathways may be broken through the thickets of Derrida’s encounter with Freud, my reading here is organized around the theses that Derrida risks in Archive Fever, but it will, in turn, draw from the material of other essays where relevant. For Derrida, the theme of archivization ...

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Chapter 4 The Im-Possibility of the Psyche

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pp. 119-145

Addressing Freud’s theoretical exposition of the psychical apparatus, Derrida proposes on the one hand that Freud’s theorization in both content and structure moves increasingly toward a radically aneconomic "archiwriting," or différance, so subverting the dominant Cartesian commitment that shapes conceptions ...

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Chapter 5 The Death Drive and the Im-Possibility of Psychoanalysis

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pp. 146-182

In Beyond the Pleasure Principle, Freud introduces the death drive at the most fundamental level in psychoanalytic theory and subsequently redescribes central notions in its terms. Again, Derrida finds in this notion a reiteration of the quasi-transcendental complexities already described, for any final determination of ...

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Chapter 6 Institutional Psychoanalysis and the Paradoxes of Archivization

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pp. 183-206

We know that in the mass of mankind there is a powerful need for an authority who can be admired, before whom one bows down, by whom one is ruled and perhaps even ill-treated. We have learnt from the psychology of individual men what the origin is of this need of the masses. It is a longing for the father felt ...

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Part 3 Interweaving

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pp. 207-212

Having outlined the genesis and structure of Derrida’s articulation of the "plural logic of the aporia"1 and having demonstrated how this logic informs his reading of certain Freudian texts, I hope to have shifted the terrain of any Derrida/Lacan encounter beyond a prejudicial reading that sees différance as ...

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Chapter 7 The Lacanian Real

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pp. 213-236

One is led to the idea of a traumatic event, an event that cannot be an object of positivist historical study because it never takes place in the way historical situations do, but rather defines the place in which these situations come to inscribe themselves, a rupture that constitutes the never present origins ...

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Chapter 8 Sexual Difference

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pp. 237-260

In "Choreographies," Derrida formulates the question of sexual difference as follows: "Must one think ‘difference’ ‘before’ sexual difference or taking off ‘from’ it?"1 This question immediately lends itself to two equally misconstrued answers, related to how one determines both "sexual difference" and "difference." ...

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Chapter 9 Feminine Sexuality

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pp. 261-282

Derrida’s remark that the "withdrawal . . . of the dyad leads towards the other sexual difference" condenses his criticism of the binary determination of sexual difference not in the name of a hysterical proliferation of differences (which amounts to a covert promotion of sameness) but in the name of a ...

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Part 4 Lacan and the "Plural Logic of the Aporia"

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pp. 283-290

Lacan’s complex theoretical edifice, like Freud’s, is developed from a heady mix of clinical observation, theoretical speculation, and his appropriation of a vast array of literary and philosophical texts. Moreover, as Fink notes, his notions are "shaped and reshaped in the course of his career," ...

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Chapter 10 The Transcendental Relation in Lacanian Psychoanalysis

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pp. 291-317

In Civilization and Its Discontents, Freud attributes the persistent human dream of a mythical beginning, where all was encompassed in the circle of self-sufficiency, to the unconscious mnemic trace in all of us of the primordial mother-child dyad (or its equivalents), which is to the infant an original, ...

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Chapter 11 The Death Drive and Ethical Action

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pp. 318-347

In answer to the question of how Sophocles’ Antigone, a relatively neglected Athenian tragedy, so captured the ethical imagination that it has become a regular reference point for ethical speculation, Copjec proposes that German idealism recharged the play by finding in it the paradigmatic universality/particularity ...

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Chapter 12 The "Talking Cure":Language and Psychoanalysis

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pp. 348-372

Lacan sees in Edgar Allan Poe’s tale "The Purloined Letter" an uncannily perspicacious illustration of certain aspects of his psychoanalytic theory, which in most respects is so well adapted to his purposes that it might have been written expressly to suit them. He hints, however, that it is precisely insofar as ...

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Conclusion: To Do Justice to Lacan

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pp. 373-386

To review the course of this study, I have tried to demonstrate how the "plural logic of the aporia" emerges from out of the relative ruin of the transcendental tradition, for which Freud, among others, is fingered, and how it comes into its own in Derrida’s thinking as a "repetition compulsion" ...


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pp. 387-438


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pp. 439-448


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pp. 449-469

E-ISBN-13: 9780823247691
Print-ISBN-13: 9780823228744
Print-ISBN-10: 0823228746

Page Count: 351
Publication Year: 2008