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By Ed Pluth

Situates Lacan’s conception of the topic inside modern philosophical debates over freedom and agency.

In Signifiers and Acts, Ed Pluth examines Lacan’s perspectives on language and sexuality to argue that Lacan’s concept of the topic is healthier learn as a thought of freedom and agency—a idea that's in particular compelling accurately as a result of its structuralist and possible antihumanist framework. featuring new points of Lacan’s paintings and commenting commonly at the very important but unpublished seminars that also make up the vast majority of his contribution to modern inspiration, the e-book goals to make a Lacanian intervention into modern thought. as well as Saussure, Sartre, Derrida, Lacoue-Labarthe, and Nancy, Pluth discusses works in political concept and id concept via Alain Badiou, Judith Butler, and Slavoj Zðizûek.

“Pluth studies Lacan’s definitions of the hint, the signal, and the signifier, and offers formulations of metaphor and metonymy that properly underscore the space among signifier and signified.” — Philosophy in Review

“This hugely unique quantity will depart an indelible mark at the quickly constructing box of Lacanian experiences. Pluth has an outstanding wisdom of either released and unpublished Lacanian resources, and he manages to combine Lacanian conception and present philosophical pondering with out sacrificing discursive readability and scholarly rigor. except demonstrating the continuing relevance of Lacan’s paintings for a large choice of topical debates, Pluth additionally succeeds in exhibiting how influential philosophical paradigms akin to these formulated by way of Deleuze, Badiou, Nancy, and Zðizûek can't be understood irrespective of Lacan.” — Dany Nobus, writer of Jacques Lacan and the Freudian perform of Psychoanalysis

Ed Pluth is affiliate Professor of Philosophy at California country collage, Chico.

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Additional resources for Signifiers and Acts : Freedom in Lacan's Theory of the Subject

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Lacan describes a sign, then, as a trace that an “object, gone elsewhere, has left behind” (III, 188/167, transla- The First Thesis 25 tion modified). What makes a sign differ from a pure trace is this reference to and dependence upon an object, which makes it the case that a trace is now something that refers to something else and is no longer a self-sufficient entity. To paraphrase Lacan’s definition, a sign refers to something for someone, unlike a trace, which does not refer to anything. It should be noted that any trace can in fact be taken as a sign, and that any sign can have its meaning or referential context bracketed and be reduced to a mere trace.

A chain suggests a horizontal series of interlocking parts, but the signifying chain would also have an elaborate vertical dimension. Lacan says as much in “L’instance de la lettre” when he suggests that it would be better to think of a signifying chain in terms of a musical staff (Lacan 1966, 503/Lacan 2002, 146). ” For example, there are more signifiers at work in a phrase such as “Pick up some fries for me” than appear manifestly in the phrase. Even according to Saussure, the value of the signifiers in this phrase depends upon other signifiers not included in the phrase itself.

Every metaphor occurs within a signifying chain that already presumes a metonymic context. This also means that without first establishing a lack of a signified there would be no possibility for metaphor’s verbal incarnation of a signified. In a metaphor, what we have is a signifier that stands in for the ambiguity of the signified. Thus a metaphor is a kind of hieroglyph, an enigma, presented in a signifier. Another way to put this is to say that for interpreting a metaphor we have nothing else to go on but the metaphor itself.

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