Derrida and Lacan

Derrida and Lacan: Another Writing

Michael Lewis
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 296
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  • Book Info
    Derrida and Lacan
    Book Description:

    This book provides readers with a fresh look at both Derridean deconstruction and Lacanian theory from a perspective that is informed by recent trends in twentieth century thought.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-3604-4
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vi-vii)
    Michael Lewis
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. viii-ix)
  5. Preface
    (pp. x-xii)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-15)

    Derrida presents deconstruction as if it were not a thesis.

    Perhaps deconstruction is almost nothing more than the most extreme consequence of Saussure’s linguistics. Following Saussure, Derrida understands a ‘text’ as a system in which a plurality of differences precedes any presence and makes it possible; and conversely, any system of differences may be deemed a ‘text’. The significance of each element of a text is determined by its differences from all of the other elements of the same system. A text is thus a system in the literal sense that no one element can act as a textual element...

  7. 1 Lacan: The name-of-the-father and the phallus
    (pp. 16-79)

    In this chapter, we shall expose Lacan’s thought in such a way as to demonstrate its vulnerability to deconstruction. The period of Lacan’s thought which is most susceptible to deconstruction is his ‘structuralist’ period, the time of his most ‘philosophical’ work, which may be dated to the 1950s. Neither Derrida himself, nor any of his heirs, reconstructs Lacan’s work in precisely this way but it presents Lacan’s thought at its strongest and still shows it to be vulnerable to deconstruction.¹

    Deconstruction concerns the relation between the text and the other of the text, the symbolic and the real. Lacan’s own...

  8. 2 Deconstructing Lacan
    (pp. 80-147)

    What is the thesis of deconstruction?

    Derrida encloses the word in quotation marks, to draw attention to the signifier itself and to indicate a caution with respect to its etymological sense. He speaks, with respect to Deleuze, of ‘a nearly total affinity concerning the “theses” ’ (W: 192).¹ He insists that his works are almost nothing in themselves, but are ‘entirely consumed by the reading of other texts’ (P: 3). Deconstruction merely repeats what the text itself says, even if the latter does not always mean to.

    An author always interprets his own text in a certain way. But this...

  9. 3 The real and the development of the imaginary
    (pp. 148-201)

    In Chapter 2, we demonstrated that the name-of-the-father issues in an oppositional understanding of the relationship between the real and the symbolic, and that this understanding must be deconstructed. In this chapter, we shall see how the necessity of deconstruction dawned on Lacan, and how it took place. We have focused almost exclusively on just two elements of Lacan’s thought: the real and the symbolic. But there is a third: the imaginary. The real and the symbolic could have been opposed only if a lesser importance was ascribed to the imaginary, for the imaginary could precisely have mediated between the...

  10. 4 The real writing of Lacan: Another writing
    (pp. 202-269)

    In the previous chapter we showed the notion of the imaginary to result from a genetic approach to the human being, and that its enduring presence necessitated a different understanding of the transcendental. It demonstrated that the symbolic, in whose order human beings reside, was not constituted in the way that Derrida thought, and this altered the way in which it could transcend itself towards the real. The real needed to be understood in two ways, by subtracting from both the symbolic and the imaginary. The real is a part of the signifier that is not a full-blown signifier, and...

  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 270-276)
  12. Index
    (pp. 277-284)