Surplus: Spinoza, Lacan

SUNY Press
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Opposing both popular “neo-Spinozisms” (Deleuze, Negri, Hardt, Israel) and their Lacanian critiques (Zðizûek and Badiou), Surplus maintains that Lacanian psychoanalysis is the proper continuation of the Spinozian-Marxian line of thought. Author A. Kiarina Kordela argues that both sides ignore the inherent contradictions in Spinoza’s work, and that Lacan’s reading of Spinoza—as well as of Descartes, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Freud, and Wittgenstein—offers a much subtler balance of knowing when to take the philosopher at face value and when to read him against himself. Moving between abstract theory and tangible political, ethical, and literary examples, Kordela traces the emergence of “enjoyment” and “the gaze” out of Spinoza’s theories of God, truth, and causality, Kant’s critique of pure reason, and Marx’s pathbreaking application of set theory to economy. Kordela’s thought unfolds an epistemology and an ontology proper to secular capitalist modernity that call for a revision of the Spinoza-Marx-Lacan line as the sole alternative to the (anti-)Platonist tradition.
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About the author

A. Kiarina Kordela is Associate Professor of German Studies at Macalester College.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Published on
Feb 1, 2012
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Pages
205
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ISBN
9780791480458
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Language
English
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Genres
Philosophy / History & Surveys / Modern
Philosophy / Metaphysics
Psychology / Movements / Psychoanalysis
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Psychoanalysis really should not exist today. Until a few years ago, most of the evidence suggested that its time was drawing to a close, and yet psychoanalysis demonstrated remarkable resilience in the face of criticism, alongside significant resurgence over the course of the last years. In "Conservative and Radical Perspectives on Psychoanalytic Knowledge: The Fascinated and the Disenchanted" psychoanalyst and philosopher Aner Govrin describes the mechanisms of sociology within the psychoanalytic community which have enabled it to withstand the hostility levelled at it and to flourish as an intellectual and pragmatic endeavour. He defends the most criticized aspect of psychoanalysis: the fascination of analysts with their theories. Govrin demonstrates that fascination is a common phenomenon in science and shows its role in the evolution of psychoanalysis.

Govrin argues that throughout its history, psychoanalysis has successfully embraced an amalgam of what he has defined and termed "fascinated" and "troubled communities." A "fascinated community" is a group that embraces a psychoanalytic theory (such as Bion's, Klein's, Winnicott s) as one embraces truth. A "troubled community" is one that is not satisfied with the state of psychoanalytic knowledge and seeks to generate a fundamental change that does not square with existing traditions (such as new psychoanalytic schools, scientifically troubled communities and the relational approach).

It is this amalgam and the continuous tension between these two groups that are responsible for psychoanalysis' rich and varied development and for its ability to adapt to a changing world. Clinical vignettes from the work of Robert Stolorow, Betty Joseph, Antonino Ferro and Michael Eigen illustrate the dynamic by which psychoanalytic knowledge is formed. "Conservative and Radical Perspectives on Psychoanalytic Knowledge" will be of interest to psychoanalysts, psychotherapists and philosophers alike.

An investigation into the strange and troublesome relationship to pleasure that defines the human being, drawing on the disparate perspectives of Deleuze and Lacan.

Is pleasure a rotten idea, mired in negativity and lack, which should be abandoned in favor of a new concept of desire? Or is desire itself fundamentally a matter of lack, absence, and loss? This is one of the crucial issues dividing the work of Gilles Deleuze and Jacques Lacan, two of the most formidable figures of postwar French thought. Though the encounter with psychoanalysis deeply marked Deleuze's work, we are yet to have a critical account of the very different postures he adopted toward psychoanalysis, and especially Lacanian theory, throughout his career. In The Trouble with Pleasure, Aaron Schuster tackles this tangled relationship head on. The result is neither a Lacanian reading of Deleuze nor a Deleuzian reading of Lacan but rather a systematic and comparative analysis that identifies concerns common to both thinkers and their ultimately incompatible ways of addressing them. Schuster focuses on drive and desire—the strange, convoluted relationship of human beings to the forces that move them from within—“the trouble with pleasure."

Along the way, Schuster offers his own engaging and surprising conceptual analyses and inventive examples. In the “Critique of Pure Complaint” he provides a philosophy of complaining, ranging from Freud's theory of neurosis to Spinoza's intellectual complaint of God and the Deleuzian great complaint. Schuster goes on to elaborate, among other things, a theory of love as “mutually compatible symptoms”; an original philosophical history of pleasure, including a hypothetical Heideggerian treatise and a Platonic theory of true pleasure; and an exploration of the 1920s “literature of the death drive,” including Thomas Mann, Italo Svevo, and Blaise Cendrars.

Man and His Symbols owes its existence to one of Jung's own dreams. The great psychologist dreamed that his work was understood by a wide public, rather than just by psychiatrists, and therefore he agreed to write and edit this fascinating book. Here, Jung examines the full world of the unconscious, whose language he believed to be the symbols constantly revealed in dreams. Convinced that dreams offer practical advice, sent from the unconscious to the conscious self, Jung felt that self-understanding would lead to a full and productive life. Thus, the reader will gain new insights into himself from this thoughtful volume, which also illustrates symbols throughout history. Completed just before his death by Jung and his associates, it is clearly addressed to the general reader.

Praise for Man and His Symbols

“This book, which was the last piece of work undertaken by Jung before his death in 1961, provides a unique opportunity to assess his contribution to the life and thought of our time, for it was also his firsat attempt to present his life-work in psychology to a non-technical public. . . . What emerges with great clarity from the book is that Jung has done immense service both to psychology as a science and to our general understanding of man in society, by insisting that imaginative life must be taken seriously in its own right, as the most distinctive characteristic of human beings.”—Guardian

“Straighforward to read and rich in suggestion.”—John Barkham, Saturday Review Syndicate

“This book will be a resounding success for those who read it.”—Galveston News-Tribune

“A magnificent achievement.”—Main Currents

“Factual and revealing.”—Atlanta Times
A. Kiarina Kordela steps beyond extant commentaries on Marx’s theory of commodity fetishism—from A. Sohn-Rethel to L. Althusser, É. Balibar, Slavoj Žižek, and others—to show that in capitalism value is the manifestation of the homology between thought and being, while their other aspect—power—is foreclosed and becomes the object of biopower.

Using monistic Marxian/Lacanian structuralism as an alternative to dominant models from Plato and Kant to phenomenological accounts, deconstruction, and other contemporary approaches, Kordela expertly argues that Marx’s theory of commodity fetishism is a reformulation of the Spinozian thesis that thought (mind) and things (bodies or extension) are manifestations of one and the same being or substance. Kordela’s link between Spinoza and Marx shows that being consists of two aspects, value and power, the former leading to structuralist thought, the latter becoming the object of contemporary biopower. Epistemontology in Spinoza-Marx-Freud-Lacan intervenes between two dominant lines of thought in the reception of Marx today: on the one hand, an approach that relates Marxian thought to psychoanalysis from a Hegelian/dialectical perspective and, on the other hand, an approach that links Marxism to Spinozian monism, at the total exclusion of psychoanalysis.

This book will interest scholars and researchers who study Marxism, (post)structuralism, psychoanalysis, critical theory, ontology, epistemology and theories of representation, theoreticians of cultural studies and comparative literature, aesthetic theory, including the relation of art to economy and politics, and biopolitics.

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