Eros and Ethics: Reading Jacques Lacan's Seminar VII

SUNY Press
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In Eros and Ethics, Marc De Kesel patiently exposes the lines of thought underlying Jacques Lacan’s often complex and cryptic reasoning regarding ethics and morality in his seventh seminar, The Ethics of Psychoanalysis (1959–1960). In this seminar, Lacan arrives at a rather perplexing conclusion: that which, over the ages, has been supposed to be “the supreme good” is in fact nothing but “radical evil”; therefore, the ultimate goal of human desire is not happiness and self-realization, but destruction and death. And yet, Lacan hastens to add, the morality based on this conclusion is far from being melancholic or tragic. Rather, it results in an encouraging ethics that for the first time in history gives full moral weight to the erotic. De Kesel’s close reading uncovers the real scope of Lacan’s criticism regarding the moralizing ethics of our time, and is one of the rare books that gives the reader full access to the letter of the Lacanian text.
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About the author

Marc De Kesel is Senior Researcher at Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

Sigi Jöttkandt is coeditor of S: Journal of the Jan van Eyck Circle for Lacanian Ideology Critique and researcher in the Theory Department at Jan van Eyck Academie, the Netherlands.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Published on
May 26, 2009
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Pages
352
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ISBN
9781438426341
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Criticism / Semiotics & Theory
Philosophy / Ethics & Moral Philosophy
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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The Singularity of Being presents a Lacanian vision of what makes each of us an inimitable and irreplaceable creature. It argues that, unlike the "subject" (who comes into existence as a result of symbolic prohibition) or the "person" (who is aligned with the narcissistic conceits of the imaginary), the singular self emerges in response to a galvanizing directive arising from the real. This directive carries the force of an obligation that cannot be resisted and that summons the individual to a "character" beyond his or her social investments. Consequently, singularity expresses something about the individual's non-negotiable distinctiveness, eccentricity, or idiosyncrasy at the same time it prevents both symbolic and imaginary closure. It opens to layers of rebelliousness, indicating that there are components of human life exceeding the realm of normative sociality.Written with an unusual blend of rigor and clarity, The Singularity of Being combines incisive readings of Lacan with the best insights of recent Lacanian theory to reach beyond the dogmas of the field. Moving from what, thanks in part to Slavoj Zizek, has come to be known as the "ethics of the act" to a nuanced interpretation of Lacan's "ethics of sublimation," the book offers a sweeping overview of Lacan's thought while making an original contribution to contemporary theory and ethics. Aimed at specialists and nonspecialists alike, the book manages to educate at the same time as it intervenes in current debates about subjectivity, agency, resistance, creativity, the self-other relationship, and effective political and ethical action. By focusing on the Lacanian real, Ruti honors the uniqueness of subjective experience without losing sight of the social and intersubjective components of human life.
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