......• Lightening Ontology
........ Slavoj Zizek and the Unbereable Lightness of Being Free
.........Adrian Johnston

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According to Alain Badiou, philosophy always thinks under conditions-that is to say, philosophizing is an activity driven by evental impacts forcing it to move along certain truth-trajectories. [1] In Manifesto for Philosophy, Badiou confesses that the situation-specific socio-economic processes of contemporary capitalism form an immanent condition of possibility (as a "historic medium") [2] for his ontology of the pure multiple-without-One, of the infinite infinities of being qua being (l'être-en-tant-qu'être). The frenetic Heraclitian flows of perpetually mobile virtual capital, flows eroding any fixed and stable solidity, reveal something fundamental about being as such. In other words, the historical particularity of today's late-capitalism, with its various desacrilizing effects, simultaneously discloses an essential aspect of the more-than-historical ontological domain. [3] Badiou explains:

If one takes 'nihilism' to mean desacrilization, Capital, whose planetary reign is beyond any doubt - 'technology' and 'Capital' being only paired off in an historic sequence but not in the concept-is certainly the only nihilistic potency of which men have succeeded in being the inventors as well as the prey. [4]

He continues:

Yet, for Marx, and for us, desacrilization is not in the least nihilistic, insofar as 'nihilism' must signify that which declares that the access to being and truth is impossible. On the contrary, desacrilization is a necessary condition for the disclosing of such an approach to thought. It is obviously the only thing we can and must welcome within Capital: it exposes the pure multiple as the foundation of presentation; it denounces every effect of One as a simple, precarious configuration; it dismisses the symbolic representations in which the bond found a semblance of being. That this destitution operates in the most complete barbarity must not conceal its properly ontological virtue. [5]

Through, as Ray Brassier describes it, global capital bringing about a "universal unbinding" [6] (à la Marx's "all that is solid melts into air" or "deterritorialization" as per Deleuze and Guattari), thought is stimulated to envision being qua being as an insubstantial mad dance of the One-less multiple, instead of as a dense, hefty materiality closed in upon itself in static idiocy. Capitalism conditions a radical reconsideration of the very (in)substantiality of the Real.

In addition to serving as the spur for a rethinking of ontology, the dynamics of capital present the opportunity for apprehending and appreciating intrinsic facets of the skeletal structure of subjectivity itself (given that Badiou treats subjectivity as arising from the always-unique event and its power to subjectify individuals in a manner akin to moments of interpellation -Badiouian subjects are invariably subjects of specific evental ruptures, rather than there being a single form of subjectivity in general [7] - he wouldn't, as will be done here, opt to exploit capitalism in order to discern and sketch the contours of an overarching theory of a general, non-specific subject). Within the framework of capitalism and its marketplaces, an aggregate of multiple individuals generates, in a bottom-up fashion (i.e., through the horizontal, lateral interactions between these individuals), a set of economic patterns that eventually take on a life of their own, patterns that, as it were, come to transcend the individuals constituting the aggregate and achieve a relative self-relating autonomy-hence the "alienating" effects of capital identified by Marx, the fact that its movements and migrations cease to be regulated by the interests of those responsible for generating it (in Schellingian terms, one could describe this facet of Marxian alienation as the virtual existence of capital arising from and breaking with the material ground of labor). Here surfaces the motif of the immanent genesis of the transcendent. However, whereas traditional Marxist thought insists upon the possibility of revolutionarily reversing such alienation at the macro-level of socio-economic relations, a capitalist-inspired account of micro-level subjectivity (an account also heavily indebted to Lacan and Zizek) requires supplementing dialectical materialism with transcendental materialism by insisting upon the existence of certain sorts of irreversible alienation (such as, most notably, the Lacanian notion of the constitution of the subject in and by the alienating mediation of signifiers). [8]

Prior to explaining the differences between dialectical and transcendental materialism, it's important first to pose the questions and problems to which the transcendental materialist theory of the subject is an answer/solution. In his 1958 écrit "The Direction of the Treatment and the Principles of Its Power," Lacan declares that the object of psychoanalysis ("our particular subject matter") is "antiphusis" (anti-nature). [9] Years later, in a session of the twenty-fourth seminar, Lacan again makes reference to a "counter-nature" (contre-nature), maintaining there that this is a notion easier to comprehend than what is imprecisely signified by the term "nature." [10] Analysis deals with something other than nature, with something opposed to or set against that which is commonly identified as natural. At this stage in his teaching (the quasi-structuralist phase during the 1950s), it isn't difficult to guess what Lacan means by this: Given that human nature, as the specific nature with which psychoanalysis occupies itself, is shot through with non-natural influences, analysts are restricted to handling manifestations of a denaturalized nature. [11] And, of course, the reason why human nature is (from an analytic perspective) invariably denaturalized is that individuals are submerged in a world of images and signifiers from their earliest beginnings onwards. What's more, Lacan repeatedly emphasizes that the big Other, as a non-natural symbolic order, precedes the birth of the individual, preparing in advance a place for him/her in a system obeying rules other than the laws of nature. Thanks to these representational mediators and their central role in the processes of subjectification, the Lacanian subject exists as a (non-)being alienated from its corporeal-material substratum.

But, what allows for these Imaginary-Symbolic structures to take root in the first place? What permits them to colonize bodies, to over-write the being of individuals and thereby denaturalize their natures? Why aren't these structures, often involving modifications apparently moving in directions contrary to the presumed default trajectories of the libidinal economy, rejected by this economy in a manner analogous to failed organ transplants? An incredibly important philosophical-theoretical issue of direct concern to Freudian-Lacanian psychoanalytic metapsychology is at stake here: the very conditions of possibility for the genesis of the subject, for the ontogenetic emergence of a being situated on the plane of antiphusis. One might be tempted to respond to these questions by insisting that, as far as Freud and Lacan are concerned, an external imposition, coming from an Other (whether this Other be the Freudian Oedipal family unit or the Lacanian symbolic order), is solely responsible for fashioning unnatural subjectivity out of natural animality, for transubstantiating an organic being with instincts and needs into a speaking being with drives and desires. The (symbolic) "castration" dictated by the socio-structural Umwelt is, according to this response, a transformative traumatic blow descending upon the individual from elsewhere. However, human nature must be, in its intrinsic essence, configured in such a way as to be receptive to this blow and its repercussions. In other words, it must be in the nature of this particular nature to be open to and capable of undergoing the dynamics of denaturalization involved in the processes of subjectification. A psychoanalytically influenced theory of the subject that fails to furnish a basic delineation of human nature as the precondition for the genesis of subjectivity is groundless, incapable of explaining a foundational dimension of its object of inquiry.

In the later seminars of the 1970s, a series of somewhat cryptic remarks testifies to Lacan's awareness of the need to redefine nature itself in order to account for why human nature is predisposed to being thoroughly altered by the denaturalizing mediation of socio-symbolic structures. In both the twenty-first and twenty-fourth seminars, Lacan contends that nature is far from being entirely natural. [12] However, this isn't just a slightly reworded reiteration of his earlier remarks from the 1950s about humanity's denaturalized nature. Rather than grounding his assertions here by invoking the externally imposed intrusion of images and signifiers as the ultimate cause of the denaturalization involved in subjectification, Lacan takes the additional step of pointing to something within nature itself that inclines it in the direction of its own effacement. In the twenty-third seminar, Lacan posits that, la nature se spécifie de n'être pas une. [13] That is to say, nature (at least human nature) should not be envisioned as an integrated organic wholeness, a coordinated sphere of components inter-relating according to the laws of an eternally balanced harmony.

In fact, Lacan's contemporaneous meditations on the non-existence of the rapport sexuel [14] (sexual relationship)1 are directly tied to these broader reflections on the nature of nature. One of the rudimentary lessons of psychoanalysis is that the sexual is never simply sexual. Hence, the notion of the rapport sexuel is bound up with a whole series of motifs and implications concerning matters seemingly far removed from the carnal interactions between males and females. The (non-existent) sexual relationship, as Lacan repeatedly insists, is the paradigm for the pervasive themes of harmony and wholeness that color, at a global level, fundamental conceptualizations regarding the essence of reality and material being. [15] Il n'y a pas de rapport sexuel implies, among other things, that balanced coordination is missing, that nature, within the realm of human existence, is anything but a harmonious and whole One-All. As Lacan expresses it in the seventeenth seminar, nature doesn't "copulate" so as to generate the fictitious, perfected unity of a spherical totality. [16] Perhaps this fractured field of material being ought to be designated as a "barred Real" (corresponding to Lacan's "barred Other" as the inconsistent, contradiction-plagued symbolic order).

What are the consequences of these reflections regarding the disharmonious "not-wholeness" of (human) nature? More specifically, how is this barred Real relevant to a theory of subjectivity informed by psychoanalysis? The late Lacan provides only a few hints. At one point, he identifies "liberty" (liberté) with "the non-existence of the sexual relationship," [17] which, in light of the above, can be understood as indicating that the freedom enjoyed by the autonomous subject is made possible by the lack of an integrated organic foundation as the grounding basis of this subject's being. Similarly, several years later, Lacan speaks of nature as not all that natural due to being internally plagued by "rottenness" (pourriture), by a decay or defect out of which culture (as antiphusis) bubbles forth (bouillonner). [18] Viewed thus, human nature is naturally destined for denaturalization. Put differently, immaterial subjectivity immanently arises out of the dysfunctionality of a libidinal-material ground.

_i_ek's creative synthesis of German idealism and Lacanian psychoanalysis enables the argument to be advanced that certain properties of an asubjective, heteronomous libidinal-material foundation (as the barred Real of human nature) function as fundamental conditions of possibility for the ontogenesis of subjective autonomy (as a transcendence of this same "natural" foundation). These properties are the meta-transcendental conditions for the event of the advent of the transcendent(al) subject qua $. A psychoanalytic theory of subjectivity informed by German idealism is able to contend that, strange as it may sound, autonomy immanently emerges out of heteronomy as an excess or surplus that cannot be re-inscribed back within the ontological register out of which it grew. As Lacan indicates in his later seminars, the freedom of autonomous subjectivity is possible only if being is inherently incomplete and internally inconsistent, asymmetrical and out-of-joint with itself. If, by contrast, being is entirely at one with itself, if material nature is a perfectly functioning machine in which each and every cog and component is organically coordinated into the single, massive whole of an uninterrupted One-All, then no space remains, no clearing is held open, for the emergence of something capable of (at least from time to time) transcending or breaking with this stifling ontological closure. Being must be originally and primordially unbalanced in order for the subject as a trans-ontological excess to become operative. [19] As Schelling himself succinctly states, "Were the first nature in harmony with itself, it would remain so. It would be constantly One and would never become Two." [20] Those points and moments where being becomes dysfunctional (i.e., when, to put it loosely, "the run of things" breaks down) signal the possibility for the genesis of subjectivity as that which cannot be reduced to a mere circuit in the machinery of a base material substratum in which everything is exhaustively integrated with everything else.

Schelling, in his Clara dialogue, speaks of the "horror of nature," [21] claiming that, "within nature there was something nameless and frightful." [22] He then points to the "hideous" necessity of nature's transient nature. [23] In The Ages of the World, he maintains that intuiting the "inner life" lying beneath the "peaceful" fašade of reality's appearances is liable to provoke "terror." [24] This Schellingian theme, which comes to the fore in his later post-idealist texts starting in 1809, is incredibly important for a metapsychologically based transcendental materialist theory of subjectivity insofar as it tacitly advances two axiomatic theses crucial for such a theory: One, the underlying ontogenetic base of the subject consists of the materiality of a certain Real, more specifically, of an internally conflicted libidinal economy at odds with itself from the very beginning (i.e., the Schellingian "vortex of drive" (Trieb) as the volatility of, so to speak, substance against itself); Two, the subject is genetically produced as a consequence of the fact that the disturbing discontent of this initial state prompts efforts at taming and domesticating this "corpo-Real," [25] efforts that come to constitute and define the fundamental contours of subjectivity itself (as a subject-position characterized by a (pseudo-)transcendence of embodied materiality).

For the sake of rigorous clarity and precision, it must be asked at this juncture: What is the difference between, on the one hand, dialectical materialism, and, on the other hand, what is here referred to as "transcendental materialism?" Invoking Badiou is again useful. In a seminar from February 7th, 1977 contained in the 1982 text Théorie du sujet, Badiou presents a table succinctly portraying the basic differences between five philosophical paradigms: subjective metaphysical idealism, objective metaphysical idealism, dialectical idealism, metaphysical materialism, and dialectical materialism. [26] Two columns of the table run next to each of these five paradigmatic types: a column under the heading "thought" (pensée) and a column under the heading "being-in-itself" (être-en-soi). In the row for type one (i.e., subjective metaphysical idealism), a circle closing in upon itself is drawn under the heading "thought" and the area beneath the heading "being-in-itself" is crossed out (indicating that this philosophical type represents something along the lines of Berkeley-style solipsism). In the row for type two (i.e., objective metaphysical idealism), a circle closing in upon itself is drawn under the heading "thought," but with an arrow connecting it to a point of reference under the heading "being-in-itself" (indicating that this philosophical type represents models involving a correspondence between the mental representations of subjective cognition and the material entities of objective reality). In the row for type three (i.e., dialectical idealism), a circle closing in upon itself starts from a point in the domain of "thought," moves through the domain of "being-in-itself," and returns to its initial point of departure in "thought" (this philosophical type obviously depicts an orthodox, textbook conception of Hegelianism). In the row for type four (i.e., metaphysical materialism), the area beneath the heading "thought" is crossed out and there is only a relation between points under the heading "being-in-itself" (indicating that this philosophical type represents varieties of severely reductive eliminative materialism in which the existence of everything associated with subjectivity is either denied outright or dismissed as merely epiphenomenal). Finally, there is the fifth type of philosophical paradigm depicted in Badiou's table, namely, dialectical materialism-its visual schema is one in which a spiral starting from a point in "being-in-itself" loops back-and-forth between "being-in-itself" and "thought." That is to say (borrowing language from classical German idealism), the core dynamic of dialectical materialism is one in which the ground of the immanent material Real gives rise to the existence of the transcendent more-than-material Ideal (in Lacanian terms, Imaginary-Symbolic reality), with the transcendent more-than-material Ideal then coming to exert a transformative influence altering the immanent material Real-with the thus-altered Real then proceeding to transform the Ideal which altered it, and so on indefinitely. In short, rendered in this way, dialectical materialism posits an oscillating interaction between "being-in-itself" (i.e., the asubjective Real) and "thought" (i.e., the Imaginary-Symbolic subject); through this posited interaction, it asserts that a constant, continual process of reciprocal modification links disparate orders/registers. The Imaginary-Symbolic subject of pensée and the asubjective Real of être-en-soi remain tethered to each other-subjectivity never achieves a self-relating autonomy in relation to its ontological underbelly.

Apropos Badiou's five types of philosophical paradigms, transcendental materialism would be a sixth possible position. In terms of his two-column table, transcendental materialism would be depicted as an arrow moving from a point of departure under the heading "being-in-itself" and crossing over into the area under the heading "thought." But, instead of looping back into "being-in-itself" (as in dialectical materialism), this trajectory departing from the ground of the immanent material Real and entering into the space of the transcendent more-than-material Ideal doesn't return to the domain in which is situated its point of departure. There's no going back; this process of genesis is a one-way street (as in, for example, the ontogenetic event of language acquisition-once acquired, language cannot subsequently be un-acquired). The break induced by the more-than-material subject splitting off from its material origins is irreparable, opening up an impossible-to-close gap, a non-dialecticizable parallax split. The transcendental materialist theory of the subject is materialist insofar as it asserts that the Ideal of subjective thought arises from the Real of objective being, although it's also simultaneously transcendental insofar as it maintains that this thus-generated Ideal subjectivity thereafter achieves independence from the ground of its material sources and thereby starts to function as a set of possibility conditions for forms of reality irreducible to explanatory discourses allied to traditional versions of materialism.

However, before saying more, it should be admitted that, despite present appearances to the contrary, dialectical materialism and transcendental materialism aren't diametrically opposed, mutually exclusive paradigms as regards theorizing the nature and formation of subjectivity (in his 1975 text Théorie de la contradiction, Badiou defines dialectical materialism properly conceived as a doctrine according to which, despite the acknowledged fact that the material generally occupies a dominant structuring position in the order of things, there is a negativity that can and does contradict this structuring materiality [27] - transcendental materialism affirms both that this more-than-material negativity arises from materiality as well as that this negativity, once generated, subsequently remains, at least in part, separate from and irreducible to its material base/ground). Although the very rift itself created by the rupture between the Ideal of subjective thought and the Real of objective being is incapable of being healed/sealed by any sort of reconciling Aufhebung, there are indeed facets of more-than-material subjectivity entangled in reciprocal oscillating configurations of movement with material being (as per dialectical materialism) as well as facets of subjectivity that subtract themselves from and achieve autonomy in relation to being (as per transcendental materialism).

The transcendental materialist theory of the subject outlined here can be elucidated further through recourse to, perhaps surprisingly, the inter-linked genres of Anglo-American analytic philosophy of mind and contemporary cognitive science. In his seminal paper "Mental Events," Donald Davidson advocates adopting, with respect to the infamous mind-body problem, a position he dubs "anomalous monism" (it's worth noting that Mark Solms, the best-known advocate of contemporary "neuro-psychoanalysis," endorses Davidson's position-Solms refers to it as "dual-aspect monism"-in his efforts to combine neuroscience and metapsychology). [28] According to Davidsonian anomalous monism, mind (subject) and body (being) aren't ontologically different-in-kind; there is only one sort of substance (hence "monism"), rather than, as per Descartes, res cogitans versus res extensa. But, Davidson insists, the monistic One he presupposes here necessarily refracts itself into two utterly distinct and separate planes of epistemological access: a plane that can be described in physical terms (i.e., terms that stick strictly to a third-person language with no reference to first-person inner mental states) and a plane that can be described in mental terms (i.e., terms that refer to first-person beliefs, desires, intentions, etc. in subjective agents). The latter plane, he contends, cannot descriptively be reduced to the former plane. In other words, the language of the mental cannot, through some unimaginable procedure of translation, be replaced by the language of the physical (as per the fantasy of eliminative materialism and related perspectives on the mind-body problem). [29] So, although Davidson concedes the monism of standard versions of materialism (i.e., at the level of fundamental ontology, there is only matter and nothing more), he denies that this ontological concession can and should force an abandonment of mind-body dualism at the epistemological level - "Anomalous monism resembles materialism in its claim that all events are physical, but rejects the thesis, usually considered essential to materialism, that mental phenomena can be given purely physical explanations." [30]

One could argue that Davidson articulates anomalous monism in the mode of a static analysis. More specifically, he treats the refractive splitting of the monistic One into the dualistic Two as a quasi-factual given, with no questions asked about whether and how this split might be something genetic (i.e., an emergent phenomena produced rather than just given). Now, there is support for this silently assumed given-ness by Davidson coming from certain sectors of developmental psychology (for instance, the thesis of Paul Bloom's recent book Descartes' Baby is that human beings are "natural Cartesians," [31] namely, "natural-born dualists" [32] who are thrown into this world at birth hard-wired with an automatic, spontaneous disposition/tendency to divide up reality into physical bodies and mental souls). [33] However, both psychoanalytically and philosophically, there are a series of significant problems with Davidson's implicit and Bloom's explicit claim that full-blown dualism is always-already in place. Moreover (Bloom and developmental psychology aside), Davidson tacitly denies any ontological status to the dualistic Two, since this split is relegated to being the fashion in which the monistic One (deceptively) appears; the dualistic Two seems to be nothing more than an epistemological necessary illusion. A transcendental materialist theory of subjectivity inspired, in particular, by Lacan and _i_ek challenges both the supposition of the static given-ness of the dualistic Two as well as the notion that this Two is merely an epistemological appearance devoid of the weight of ontological status.

In The Emergent Self, William Hasker proposes and defends an account of what he calls "emergent dualism." [34] Hasker's position stipulates both that the brain gives rise to the mind (i.e., the mind emerges from the brain) and that there is a distinction to be recognized between brain and mind (i.e., the emergence of mind from brain establishes a genuine duality-hence "emergent dualism"). [35] But, Hasker adds, once generated, the mind can and does exert a reciprocal guiding and transformative influence upon the brain from which it arises-"So the power attributed to matter by emergent dualism amounts to this: when suitably configured, it generates a field of consciousness... and the field of consciousness in turn modifies and directs the functioning of the physical brain." [36] It's not just that the brain creates and shapes the mind; the mind folds itself back upon the brain, reshaping its own material ground [37] (a mind-driven reshaping of the brain which, one could presume, would then correlatively alter the same mind performing the reshaping). In essence, this amounts to a dialectical materialist philosophical model of mind.

Along related lines relevant to the present discussion, in an insightful essay entitled "Des neurosciences aux logosciences," François Ansermet underscores the crucial, significant implications of the biological fact of the neuroplasticity of the human central nervous system (this plasticity being what, in Hasker's emergent dualism schema, allows the mind that emerged from the brain to sculpt the malleable physical contours of this same brain). However, instead of speaking in terms of "mind"-by "mind," Hasker simply means the "field of consciousness" qua awareness/cognizance-Ansermet refers to the "subject" (this terminological difference will turn out to be more than a mere terminological difference). He elaborates:

Une place semble être faite au sujet-plus exactement à sa possibilité même-au coeur même des lois de l'organisme. C'est ainsi que les neurosciences ne vont plus pouvoir occulter la psychanalyse. Le phénomène de la plasticité nécessité de penser le sujet dans le champ même des neurosciences. Si le réseau neuronal contient dans sa constitution la possibilité de sa modification, si le sujet, tout en recevant une forme, participe à sa formation, à sa réalisation, bref si on admet le concept de plasticité, on est obligé d'introduire dans le champ des neurosciences la question de l'unique et donc de la diversité. [38]

Echoing Hasker's thesis regarding the reciprocal causal powers of mind with respect to brain, Ansermet, emphasizing "the fact of plasticity," proposes that, on en vient même à concevoir une causalité psychique capable de modeler l'organisme! [39] Ansermet's stance involves two key claims: One, when it comes to the matter constituting the neurological apparatus (matter that forms anything but a tightly closed field fully and exhaustively saturated by causally determining forces), the Hegelian dictum "substance is subject" holds precisely because the malleable plasticity of this special kind of materiality intrinsically harbors the potential for facilitating and undergoing processes of phenomenological and structural subjectification creating more-than-corporeal forms of subjectivity (moreover, as Ansermet goes on to observe astutely, given that the plastic brain is designed by nature to be redesigned by nurture insofar as humans are "genetically determined not to be genetically determined," [40] the neurologically hard-wired "default of determinism" guarantees, at the brute material level, that spaces are cleared and held open for an autonomous subject) [41] Two, both Hasker and Ansermet insist that the mind or subject isn't epiphenomenal, that the dialectical interaction between the parts of the dualistic Two is a properly ontological process and not just an illusory epistemological appearance distorting the subsisting being of an underlying, unperturbed monistic One.

Before turning to the pressing topic of epiphenomenalism, the implications of the above-noted terminological difference between Hasker and Ansermet-Hasker speaks of the "mind" whereas Ansermet speaks of the "subject"-must be articulated. It would seem that Hasker's emergentism is a model in which, once the right kind of material body is created (i.e., a body with the sort of neurological hardware found sitting inside human skulls), the sentient mind qua field of consciousness automatically arises (in this sense, Hasker is quite close to the Aristotelian account of the body-soul relationship as delineated in De Anima). Perhaps one could call this a non-genetic emergentism, since, by contrast with psychoanalytic accounts of the temporally elongated ontogenetic emergence of various psychical structures coming to create a full-fledged subject (a subjectivity that isn't simply equivalent to consciousness-as-awareness), the sentient mind qua field of consciousness pops into existence if and when the appropriate corporeal substratum is in place. This is one of the main reasons why Ansermet's choice of the term "subject" rather than "mind" is important: The emergentism involved in transcendental materialism's model of subject formation, a model influenced by Kant and post-Kantian German idealism combined with Freudian-Lacanian psychoanalytic metapsychology, is genetic rather than, as with Hasker, instantaneous-and this because subjectivity, as opposed to mere conscious awareness (what Freud designates as the psychical sub-system of "perception-consciousness"), entails complex constellations of images, words, identifications, and dis-identifications. In short, a bodily brain becomes (the seat of) a subject (a subject straddling the lines between consciousness and the unconscious) over time and only through the intervention of a variety of mechanisms operative within the surrounding trans-individual milieu of Imaginary-Symbolic reality. As Zizek explains in The Parallax View, "it is not enough to talk about the parallel between neuronal and mental, about how mental is grounded in neuronal, about how every mental process has to have its neuronal counterpart, and so forth." [42] Instead, he insists that, "the real question, rather, is... how does the emergence/explosion of the mental occur at the level of the neuronal itself?" [43] (i.e., the problem of how a more-than-material transcendence arises out of a material immanence).

Apropos the psychoanalytic approach to cognitive neuroscience, André Green justifiably warns that identifying signifying activities at work in and supported by the brain doesn't license one to speak of these significations as being contained within and emerging out of the brain itself. [44] Consequently, although the Lacanian subject of signifiers plays on cerebral surfaces-Lacan describes language as straddling the brain like a spider [45] - these subjectifying signifiers are inscribed upon grey matter by an external symbolic order (and, the Freudian-Lacanian portrayal of the ontogenetic starting point of the trajectory of human subject formation as both an anxiety-suffused state of prematurational helplessness coupled with a conflict-ridden psychical apparatus explains why such potentially subjectifiable beings indeed accept the inscriptions of these mediating, structuring elements impressed upon them from without). [46] Additionally, these signifiers enjoy their own dynamics of structured interaction between themselves, dynamics obeying a logic that isn't directly and entirely controlled by the neuronal networks of the central nervous system. If anything, especially given Lacan's insistence upon the materiality of the signifying chains shaping the psyche[47] - this doctrine of the material signifier is one of the reasons why a Lacanian approach to signifier-mediated subjectivity would object to treating the gap separating mind/subject from brain/body as simply a deontologized epistemological appearance-the interactive operations between signifiers as ideational representations (Vorstellungen) wire and rewire the neuronal networks running these operations.

For Hasker, the mind of emergent dualism isn't epiphenomenal precisely because of the dialectical materialist bi-directional movement of reciprocal, two-way determining influential currents flowing between mind and brain-"the mind is not merely the passive, epiphenomenal resultant of brain activity; instead, the mind actively influences the brain at the same time as it is being influenced by it." [48] However, in relation to the transcendental materialist theory of the subject as constructed by this project, there's another argument against epiphenomenalism that absolutely must be mentioned here, an argument alluded to by Kant in the third section of his Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals. Therein, Kant compares and contrasts his speculative/theoretical philosophy (Ó la the Critique of Pure Reason) with his practical/moral philosophy. A self-created problem he faces in this context is that the previously established speculative/theoretical distinction between noumenal and phenomenal subjectivity stipulates that the latter bars access to the former. More precisely, since self-consciousness is always and necessarily routed through the matrix of phenomenal spatio-temporal experience, the noumenal dimension of the subject remains an unknowable thing-in-itself, an "x" inaccessible to reflective acquaintance and therefore unable to serve as a subject-term to which specific, determinate predicate-terms could be attached via theoretical judgments (such as the predicate-terms "autonomous" and "free"). The phenomenal subject is mired in the "world of sense," a freedom-less reality situated entirely under the governance of strict cause-and-effect laws. [49] So, if self-consciousness is restricted to knowing itself solely at the phenomenal level, then how can it be sure it's autonomous/free at the noumenal level? What licenses attributing autonomy/freedom to the subject, given that the epistemologically accessible side of this subject is situated in the heteronomous regime of the sensible?

Kant has several answers to these troubling queries. But, in relation to the analysis underway here in which the issue of epiphenomenalism is at stake, there is one Kantian answer that is of particular interest. He suggests that the fact of simply being able to conceive of oneself as free-for Kant, given reason's ineradicable cognizance of logical and temporal modalities of possibility, one cannot truly avoid or deny the idea of being a free agent capable of realizing various possibilities for things being otherwise than as they are-is sufficient for actually being free:

Now I say every being that cannot act except under the idea of freedom is just for that reason in a practical point of view really free, that is to say, all laws which are inseparably connected with freedom have the same force for him as if his will had been shown to be free in itself by a proof theoretically conclusive. [50]

He attaches a footnote to this crucial sentence:

I adopt this method of assuming freedom merely as an idea which rational beings suppose in their actions, in order to avoid the necessity of proving it in its theoretical aspect also. The former is sufficient for my purpose; for even though the speculative proof should not be made out, yet a being that cannot act except with the idea of freedom is bound by the same laws that would oblige a being who was actually free. Thus we can escape here from the onus which presses on the theory. [51]

Of course, later in same section of this text as well as in the subsequent Critique of Practical Reason, Kant goes on to formulate a "speculative proof" for there being a "transcendental freedom" belonging to the essence of the noumenal subject. [52] But, as he points out in the passages above, such a proof isn't necessary to "escape... the onus" resulting from the portrait of the split subject painted in the Critique of Pure Reason; all he requires is that there be an idea of freedom (as an empty regulative ideal), the mere conception of being free and nothing more. Why is this true?

To insist, as many materialists do, that mind and subjectivity are epiphenomenal qua ineffective, residual illusions secreted by a thoroughly physical reality is to ignore something that becomes incredibly obvious upon a single moment of genuine reflection: Even if the idea of being an autonomous subject is an illusion, it's an illusion that actually steers one's cognition and comportment-and, thus, shapes and reshapes one's very being (including the components of one's material constitution itself). Borrowing from Alenka Zupancic, this amounts to acknowledging that there's something Real to the illusion, that the idea of being free is Real, even if it cannot be rendered as a concept of the understanding anchored by reference to an empirical, phenomenal reality. [53] Succinctly put, believing oneself to be an autonomous subject is, if nothing else, a self-fulfilling prophecy, a virtual epiphenomenon with the strange power to become an actual phenomenon. In this vein, _i_ek proposes that, "subject is appearance itself, brought to its self-reflection; it is something that exists only insofar as it appears to itself" [54] (he then proceeds to link this proposal with the enigma of freedom, arguing that the question "How is a free act possible?" amounts to asking "How can appearance exert a causality of its own?"). [55] Additionally, in combined Kantian and Lacanian terms, the Real of this illusion is impossible in two senses: both impossible to prove as an empirically verifiable piece of substantiated data as well as impossible to exorcise decisively as a specter forever haunting human beings' self-conceptions (and, Kant maintains, so long as this ideational specter lingers around-at most, this ghost can be repressed but not destroyed-individuals cannot divest themselves of the burden of their transcendental freedom insofar as a phantom idea is enough to make autonomy real).

In his 1946 écrit "Presentation on Psychical Causality," Lacan not only calls for a "return to Descartes," but also offers a critique of typical, vulgar ways of opposing idealism and materialism in relation to the notion of the epiphenomenal:

Of course, I wince a tad when I read that 'for dualism' (still Cartesian, I presume) 'the mind is a mind without existence,' remembering as I do that the first judgment of certainty that Descartes bases on the consciousness that thinking has of itself is a pure judgment of existence: cogito ergo sum. I also get concerned when I come across the assertion that 'according to materialism, the mind is an epiphenomenon,' recalling as I do that form of materialism in which the mind immanent in matter is realized by the latter's very movement. [56]

Lacan alleges that ideal subjectivity à la the Cartesian Cogito has a definite sort of existence, instead of being an unreal, ephemeral ethereality. He then proceeds to hint at a variety of materialism (and not idealism) in which this subject immanently realizes itself within a material milieu.

Later in "Presentation on Psychical Causality," Lacan remarks that, "if a man who thinks he is a king is mad, a king who thinks he is a king is no less so." [57] Lacan's basic point here is that, regardless of whether one is a king who believes himself to be a king or a lunatic who believes himself to be a king, the subject's identifications at the level of Imaginary-Symbolic reality (i.e., the world of images and words) are fictional, virtual constructs, insubstantial ideals that are nonetheless much more than mere epiphenomena insofar as these ideals entail structuring effects that reverberate throughout the entirety of the individual's multi-layered being. This thesis regarding subjectifying identification justifies a reversal of the Lacanian one-liner according to which the truth has the structure of a fiction. [58] Fiction has the structure of a truth: More-than-material subjectivity isn't a false, fictional epiphenomenon since it literally (re)structures the very being of the individual (as Lacan puts it subsequently in this 1946 text, there is a "law of our becoming" commanding one to "Become such as you are" [59] - that is to say, false virtual identifications become true actual identities through fiction remaking true being in its own image). Lacan goes on to maintain that an intimate rapport conjoins madness and freedom: Both madness and freedom are possibilities for a human being due to "the permanent virtuality of a gap opened up in his essence." [60] Thanks to the mediating matrix of images and words in which the psychical individual is alienated, he/she becomes unglued from a direct referential relationship to the brute, raw immediacy of "what there is." This crack that opens up between, one could say, the virtual and the actual - the mirror stage stages the primal scene of this gap's emergence (likewise, in Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, this begins with sensuous certainty's efforts to articulate its experience) - liberates the individual psyche from a slavish adhesion to the surface of things. And yet, at the same time, this liberation from immediate reality, this negativity making possible subjectivity as such, also makes possible the complete collapse of reality characteristic of the most extreme forms of psychotic mental psychopathology.

Given the background role played in "Presentation on Psychical Causality" by Lacan's reflections on the mirror stage, it is clear now how these remarks on idealism, materialism, epiphenomenalism, freedom, and madness fit together: One, the material constitution of the human organism propels this being into accepting and internalizing sets of foreign images and words; Two, these sets of foreign images and words thereby open up the negativity of a gap in the human organism between actual materiality and virtual more-than-materiality; Three, this gap between the actual and the virtual is the source of both freedom and madness. Thus, Lacan here understands himself to be proposing a model for the material genesis of a non-epiphenomenal, more-than-material subject (akin to the Cogito, and yet linked to a certain materiality). In his much-referenced discussion of "the passion of the Real," Badiou, citing the concept of "misrecognition" (méconnaissance) from Lacan's mirror stage, proposes that there is a "power of misrecognition" (puissance de la méconnaissance) and, furthermore, that, Il y a une fonction de méconnaissance, qui fait que l'abrupt du réel n'opère que dans des fictions, des montages, des masques [61] (a formulation clearly echoing the Lacanian motif of truth-structured-as-a-fiction). This "power of misrecognition" can be construed as what generatively produces a Real of illusions, of what makes the emergent virtual constellations supporting processes of subjectification more than an empty theater of fantasmatic shadows cast by the elements of a substantial physical substratum. In Lacanian theory, the images and words of the surrounding reality-matrix that the human organism is pushed into embracing by the material catalysts of its "natural" constitution start establishing between themselves cross-resonating patterns determined by their own intra-systemic logics (this is closer to Francisco Varela's notion of emergent properties[62] than to Hasker's variety of emergentism). When facets of a supposedly "epiphenomenal" field begin interacting with each other according to laws internal and specific to this field itself, epiphenomena are no longer epiphenomena.

At this juncture, transcendental materialism as conceived herein can now be precisely defined as: a dialectical materialist dynamic that comes into play after the emergence of an undialecticizable dualistic split between the material and the more-than-material, a split whose resistance to cancellation by dialectical sublation is best expressed via the irreducibility constraint of anomalous/dual-aspect monism (however, contra the apparent implications of anomalous/dual-aspect monism, this split isn't epiphenomenal since both sides of the antagonism/discrepancy between the material and the more-than-material enjoy a degree of ontological heft). Thus far, this delineation of a transcendental materialist theory of subjectivity (as distinguished from standard dialectical materialism, anomalous monism à la Davidson, and emergent dualism à la Hasker) has, in Zizek's terms, limited itself to addressing the distinction between the substance of the corpo-Real and Imaginary-Symbolic subjectification, without touching upon the subject per se (as per the Zizekian distinction between subject and subjectification). In "The Subversion of the Subject and the Dialectic of Desire in the Freudian Unconscious," Lacan perplexingly declares that, "it is precisely because desire is articulated that it is not articulable." [63] Likewise, in the contemporaneous seventh seminar of 1959-1960, he claims "the essential dimension of desire" resides in the fact that "it is always desire in the second degree, desire of desire." [64] As is well known, Lacanian desire is structured by the mediation of signifiers (i.e., it's "articulated"). And, desire being articulated in and by signifiers is what opens up the possibility for infinite reflexive regressions (in the form of "Do I desire to desire what I desire?" as second-plus order desires). Hence, desire isn't "articulable" qua able to be stated with a decisive, straightforward finality since its very articulation through signifying structures and their dynamic diachronic movements (an articulation introducing reflexive regressions) liquidates any such "the buck stops here" finality. In being articulated by signifiers, desire becomes a mysterious, ineffable je ne sais quoi, an enigmatic "x" incapable of being pinned down in relation to specific desired object-contents as stable referents.

One of Zizek's recent portrayals of the Lacanian subject of the signifier in the context of an analysis of the nature of freedom resonates strongly with the preceding comments on desire as defined by Lacan. Zizek states:

...we should take Lacan's term 'subject of the signifier' literally: there is, of course, no substantial signified content which guarantees the unity of the I; at this level, the subject is multiple, dispersed, and so forth-its unity is guaranteed only by the self-referential symbolic act, that is, 'I' is a purely performative entity, it is the one who says 'I.' This is the mystery of the subject's 'self-positing,' explored by Fichte: of course, when I say 'I,' I do not create any new content, I merely designate myself, the person who is uttering the phrase. This self- designation nonetheless gives rise to ('posits') an X which is not the 'real' flesh-and-blood person uttering it, but, precisely and merely, the pure Void of self-referential designation (the Lacanian 'subject of the enunciation'): 'I' am not directly my body, or even the content of my mind; 'I' am, rather, that X which has all these features as its properties. The Lacanian subject is thus the 'subject of the signifier'- not in the sense of being reducible to one of the signifiers in the signifying chain ('I' is not directly the signifier I, since, in this case, a computer or another machine writing 'I' would be a subject), but in a much more precise sense: when I say 'I'-when I designate 'myself' as 'I'-this very act of signifying adds something to the 'real flesh-and- blood entity' (inclusive of the content of its mental states, desires, attitudes) thus designated, and the subject is that X which is added to the designated content by means of the act of its self-referential designation. It is therefore misleading to say that the unity of the I is 'a mere fiction' beneath which there is the multitude of inconsistent mental processes: the point is that this fiction gives rise to 'effects in the Real,' that is to say, it acts as a necessary presupposition to a series of 'real' acts. [65]

Both the first-person pronoun "I" as a Benvenistian linguistic shifter and the proper name as a Kripkian rigid designator enunciated by the "flesh-and-blood" individual not only establish the skeletal frameworks upon which empirical personal identities (i.e., types of subjectification) will be patched together - they also, as Zizek suggests here, bore a hole, hollow out an empty space, in the fabric of reality. As with Lacanian desire, the positive articulations of subjectification simultaneously generate an impossible-to-articulate negativity as an "x" detached from and out-of-joint with both nature (as the barred Real) and culture (as the barred Other). What's more, this anonymous, faceless misfit ($) starts wandering around Imaginary-Symbolic reality, bending and warping the fields in which it's an internally excluded element. The process Zizek describes in the passage quoted immediately above, a process in which the subject-as-$ arises out of signifiers as a medium of subjectification, relies upon the lack of a unifying closure in the symbolic order, namely, the fact that the big Other is barred because its own internal constituents and their laws create, one could say, a chaotic, broken-up hall of mirrors in which reflexive regressions potentially stretch out to infinity. And, prior to this entrance into the defiles of the symbolic order's signifying batteries (an entrance creating both subjectification and the subject), a barred Real (as the anxiety-laden, conflict-ridden corpo-Real) propels the human organism into the arms of this barred big Other. The subject-as-$ is a by-product of both the barred Real and the barred Symbolic.

However, what does this have to do with the topic of autonomy? In Astra Taylor's Zizek!: The Movie, Zizek, after posing the perennial question "What is philosophy?," proclaims that, rather than being a preposterous exercise in asking unanswerable questions about absolute Truth-with-a-capital-T, "philosophy is a very modest discipline. Philosophy asks a different question, the true philosophy: How does a philosopher approach the problem of freedom?" One of the most striking features of _i_ek's oeuvre is his attempt to think together two seemingly incompatible senses of being a subject: on the one hand, the subject as an overdetermined effect of subjection (whether as the dupe of ideology as per Marxism or the plaything of the unconscious as per psychoanalysis); on the other hand, the subject as an unpredictable upsurge of freedom (whether as the force of negativity uncovered by Kant, Schelling, and Hegel or the correlate of Lacanian acts and Badiouian events). The paradoxical recto and verso of the _i_ekian subject amounts to this: Individuals, usually unconscious of their true subjectivity, are simultaneously more heteronomous and more autonomous than they (want to) believe or know. [66]

Of course, Marxist theories of ideology, psychoanalytic conceptions of the unconscious, plus accumulating data about human material nature divulged by cognitive neuroscience and evolutionary psychology all seemingly present serious challenges nowadays for anyone who wishes to defend the idea of some sort of autonomous subjectivity. In light of what is presently known regarding the deterministic influences operative at historical, psychical, and biological levels, is there space left for a subject that could be said to be free in any meaningful sense? Zizek's work uniquely enables answering this question with a carefully qualified "yes."

Being free is a transitory event arising at exceptional moments when the historical, psychical, and biological run of things breaks down, when the determining capacities of natural and cultural systems-these systems are never actually the seamless networks of unfaltering determination (i.e., big Others) they so often inaccurately appear to be-are temporarily suspended as a result of deadlocks and short-circuits being generated within and between these multifaceted, not-whole systems. Individuals are able to exploit the thus-generated (and perhaps rare) openings for autonomy thanks to having a constitution riddled with conflicts (this being what Zizek is getting at when he describes the dimension of the event as exploding out of the domain of the drives). This quest to formulate a joint philosophical-psychoanalytic theory of autonomous subjectivity leads Zizek to a profound reconsideration of the very ontological foundations of materialism-what ultimately enables the event of subjective freedom is the fact that material being itself is already perforated by irreducible antagonisms and inconsistencies. What's being proposed here, in Zizek's wake, is a depiction of subjectivity as a transient transcendence made possible by an underlying ontology of an Otherless, barred Real. This absence of any One-All is an incredibly light being whose burden can be harder to bear than the immobilizing weight of the entire world.


[1] Alain Badiou, Handbook of Inaesthetics, trans. Alberto Toscano, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2005, pg. 14.

[2] Alain Badiou, Manifesto for Philosophy,trans. Norman Madarasz, Albany: State University of New York Press, 1999, pg. 58.

[3] Alain Badiou, "L'entretien de Bruxelles," Les temps modernes, 526, 1990, pg. 4-5, 6.

[4] Badiou, Manifesto for Philosophy, pg. 56.

[5] Ibid, pg. 56-57.

[6] Ray Brassier, "Nihil Unbound: Remarks on Subtractive Ontology and Thinking Capitalism," Think Again: Alain Badiou and the Future of Philosophy, ed. Peter Hallward, London: Continuum, 2004, pg. 52.

[7] Alain Badiou, "On a Finally Objectless Subject", trans. Bruce Fink, Who Comes After the Subject?, ed. Peter Connor and Jean-Luc Nancy, New York: Routledge, 1991, pg. 25, 27. Alain Badiou, Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil, trans. Peter Hallward, London: Verso, 2001, pg. 44. Alain Badiou, "Philosophy and desire," Infinite Thought: Truth and the Return of Philosophy, trans. Oliver Feltham and Justin Clemens, London: Continuum, 2003, pg. 56. Alain Badiou, "Ontology and politics: An interview with Alain Badiou," Infinite Thought, pg. 175.

[8] Jacques Lacan, The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book XI: The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psycho-Analysis, 1964, ed. Jacques-Alain Miller; trans. Alan Sheridan, New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1977, pg. 207, 210.

[9] Jacques Lacan, "The Direction of the Treatment and the Principles of Its Power," Écrits: The First Complete Edition in English, trans. Bruce Fink, New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2006, pg. 514.

[10] Jacques Lacan, Le Séminaire de Jacques Lacan, Livre XXIV: L'insu que sait de l'une-bévue, s'aile à mourre, 1976-1977, unpublished typescript, session of April 19th, 1977.

[11] Jacques Lacan, Le Séminaire de Jacques Lacan, Livre IV: La relation d'objet, 1956-1957, ed. Jacques-Alain Miller, Paris: Seuil, 1994, pg. 254.

[12] Jacques Lacan, Le Séminaire de Jacques Lacan, Livre XXI: Les non-dupes errent, 1973-1974, unpublished, session of May 21st, 1974; Le Séminaire de Jacques Lacan, Livre XXIV, session of May 17th, 1977.

[13] Jacques Lacan, Le Séminaire de Jacques Lacan, Livre XXIII: Le sinthome, 1975-1976, ed. Jacques-Alain Miller, Paris: Seuil, 2005, pg. 12.

[14] Jacques Lacan, The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book XX: Encore, 1972-1973, ed. Jacques-Alain Miller; trans. Bruce Fink, New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1998, pg. 6-7, 9, 12.

[15] Jacques Lacan, Le Séminaire de Jacques Lacan, Livre VIII: Le transfert, 1960-1961, ed. Jacques-Alain Miller, Paris: Seuil, 2001, pg. 117; Le Séminaire de Jacques Lacan, Livre XVIII: D'un discours qui ne serait pas du semblant, 1971, unpublished, session of February 17th, 1971; Le Séminaire de Jacques Lacan, Livre XIX: Le savoir du psychanalyste, 1971-1972, unpublished, session of March 3rd, 1972)

[16] Jacques Lacan, Le Séminaire de Jacques Lacan, Livre XVII: L'envers de la psychanalyse, 1969-1970, ed. Jacques-Alain Miller, Paris: Seuil, 1991, pg. 36.

[17] Lacan, Le Séminaire de Jacques Lacan, Livre XVIII, session of February 17th, 1971.

[18] Lacan, Le Séminaire de Jacques Lacan, Livre XXIV, session of May 17th, 1977.

[19] F.W.J. Schelling, The Ages of the World: Third Version (c. 1815), trans. Jason M. Wirth, Albany: State University of New York Press, 2000, pg. 60-61.

[20] F.W.J. Schelling, Ibid, pg. 12.

[21] F.W.J. Schelling, Clara-or, On Nature's Connection to the Spirit World, trans. Fiona Steinkamp, Albany: State University of New York Press, 2002, pg. 19.

[22] F.W.J. Schelling, Ibid, pg. 21.

[23] F.W.J. Schelling, Ibid, pg. 22.

[24] F.W.J. Schelling, The Ages of the World, pg. 20, 49.

[25] Adrian Johnston, Time Driven: Metapsychology and the Splitting of the Drive, Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2005, pg. 340-341.

[26] Alain Badiou, Théorie du sujet, Paris: Seuil, 1982, pg. 135.

[27] Alain Badiou, Théorie de la contradiction, Paris: François Maspero, 1975, pg. 77-78, 80.

[28] Mark Solms and Oliver Turnbull, The Brain and the Inner World: An Introduction to the Neuroscience of Subjective Experience, New York: Other Press, 2002, pg. 56-57.

[29] Donald Davidson, "Mental Events," in Essays on Actions and Events, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980, pg. 216-217, 221-222, 225.

[30] Ibid, pg. 214.

[31] Paul Bloom, Descartes' Baby: How the Science of Child Development Explains What Makes Us Human, New York: Basic Books, 2004, pg. xii.

[32] Ibid, pg. xiii.

[33] Ibid, pg. 24.

[34] William Hasker, The Emergent Self, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1999, pg. 194.

[35] Ibid, pg. 189-190.

[36] Ibid, pg. 195.

[37] Ibid, pg. 190-191.

[38] François Ansermet, "Des neurosciences aux logosciences," in Qui sont vos psychanalystes?, ed. Nathalie Georges, Jacques-Alain Miller, and Nathalie Marchaison, Paris: Seuil, 2002, pg. 377.

[39] Ibid, pg. 377.

[40] Ibid, pg. 378.

[41] Ibid, pg. 383.

[42] Slavoj Zizek, The Parallax View, Cambridge: MIT Press, 2006, pg. 210-211.

[43] Ibid, pg. 211.

[44] André Green, La causalité psychique: Entre nature et culture, Paris: Odile Jacob, 1995, pg. 45.

[45] Jacques Lacan, "Place, origine et fin de mon enseignement," Mon enseignement, ed. Jacques-Alain Miller], Paris: Seuil, 2005, pg. 46.

[46] Adrian Johnston, "Ghosts of Substance Past: Schelling, Lacan, and the Denaturalization of Nature," in Lacan: The Silent Partners, ed. Slavoj Zizek], London: Verso, 2006, 34-35, 36-37.

[47] Jacques Lacan, "The Function and Field of Speech and Language in Psychoanalysis," Écrits, pg. 248; "The Direction of the Treatment and the Principles of Its Power," pg. 496; "Discours de Rome," Autres écrits, ed. Jacques-Alain Miller, Paris: Seuil, 2001, pg. 137-138; "Problèmes cruciaux pour la psychanalyse: Compte rendu du Séminaire 1964-1965," Autres écrits, pg. 199; "Petit discours Ó l'ORTF," Autres écrits, pg. 224; "Of Structure as an Inmixing of an Otherness Prerequisite to Any Subject Whatever," The Structuralist Controversy: The Languages of Criticism and the Sciences of Man, ed. Richard Macksey and Eugenio Donato, Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1970, pg. 187; The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book I: Freud's Papers on Technique, 1953-1954, ed. Jacques-Alain Miller, trans. John Forrester, New York: W.W. Norton, 1988, pg. 244; The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book II: The Ego in Freud's Theory and in the Technique of Psychoanalysis, 1954-1955, ed. Jacques-Alain Miller, trans. Sylvana Tomaselli, New York: W.W. Norton, 1988, pg. 82; The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book III: The Psychoses, 1955-1956, ed. Jacques-Alain Miller, trans. Russell Grigg, New York: W.W. Norton, 1993, pg. 32; Le Séminaire de Jacques Lacan, Livre IX: L'identification, 1961-1962 unpublished, session of January 10th, 1962; Le Séminaire de Jacques Lacan, Livre XIV: La logique du fantasme, 1966-1967, unpublished, session of February 1st, 1967, session of May 10th, 1967.

[48] Hasker, The Emergent Self, pg. 193.

[49] Immanuel Kant, Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals, trans. Thomas K. Abbott, Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc., 1949, pg. 68.

[50] Ibid, pg. 64-65.

[51] Ibid, pg. 65.

[52] Ibid, pg. 69-70, 70-71; Critique of Practical Reason, trans. Lewis White Beck, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1993, pg. 57-58.

[53] Alenka Zupancic, Das Reale einer Illusion: Kant und Lacan, trans. Reiner Ansen, Baden-Baden: Suhrkamp, 2001, pg. 141-142; Esthétique du désir, éthique de la jouissance, Paris: Théétète éditions, 2002, pg. 52.

[54] Zizek, The Parallax View, pg. 206.

[55] Ibid, pg. 206.

[56] Jacques Lacan, "Presentation on Psychical Causality," Écrits, pg. 129.

[57] Ibid, pg. 139.

[58] Jacques Lacan, "Psychoanalysis and Its Teaching," Écrits, pg. 376; "The Youth of Gide, or the Letter and Desire," Écrits, pg. 625; "The Subversion of the Subject and the Dialectic of Desire in the Freudian Unconscious," Écrits, pg. 684.

[59] Jacques Lacan, "Presentation on Psychical Causality," pg. 145.

[60] Ibid, pg. 144.

[61] Alain Badiou, Le siècle, Paris: Seuil, 2005, pg. 76-77.

[62] Francisco Varela, "The Emergent Self," The Third Culture, ed. John Brockman, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995, pg. 216.

[63] Jacques Lacan, "The Subversion of the Subject and the Dialectic of Desire in the Freudian Unconscious," pg. 681.

[64] Jacques Lacan, The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book VII: The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, 1959-1960, ed. Jacques-Alain Miller, trans. Dennis Porter, New York: W.W. Norton, 1992, pg. 14.

[65] Zizek, The Parallax View, pg. 244-245.

[66] Adrian Johnston, Vanishing Mediators: Zizekian Meditations, unpublished.

This text is the concluding chapter of the author's forthcoming Zizek's Ontology: A Transcendental Materialist Theory of Subjectivity to be published by Northwestern University Press in 2007.


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