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Kant and Psychoanalysis

Lecturer: Matthew Sharpe

Originally Taught: Summer School 2004

Slavoj Zizek has been described by Terry Eagleton as the most 'formidably brilliant' theorist to have emerged from Europe for some decades. His influence certainly continues to grow almost as quickly as his already-voluminous publications list. Amongsth other things, Zizek's work is characterised by omniscient wit and psychoanalytic learning, but it also draws on his thorough knowledge of the philosophical traditions of phenomenology, post-structuralism and German idealism (which he began his career by studying). For us as philosophers, even the most challenging aspect of Zizek's work is his taking up of and developing certain hints within Lacan (especially in the closing chapters of SEMINAR XI) that it is the philosophical work of Immanuel Kant that was the primary antecedent of Freud's 'discovery' of the unconscious. It is this Zizekian philosophical gambit that I want to examine in detail in this course. Within it, I will undertake to read Kant with Zizek, and then, mutatis mutandis (perhaps), to read Zizek through the master from Konigsberg. The course will be a timely meditation, it is hoped, in recollection that the 200th anniversary of Kant's death is February 3rd, 2004.

DAY 1: MONDAY: INTRODUCTION
FROM ZIZEK TO KANT
1. introduction: who is Zizek? and: Who is Kant?
2. what is ideology: 3 problems and problematics
3. can reason be cynical: or enlightenment today?
4. the exception being the rule: Zizek on ideological (non=)identification, or: how to believe through the other[s]
5. from Zizek to Kant: the crack in the universal and the binding of the three critiques

DAY 2: TUESDAY: ZIZEK'S KANT I:
THE IDEOLOGY IN THE AESTHETIC
1. an introduction to Kant through - THE THIRD CRITIQUE
2. the analytic of the beautiful, or: 'virtual community'
3. the analytic of the sublime: boundary issues
4. the sublime objects of ideology

DAY 3: WEDNESDAY: ZIZEK'S KANT II:
THE TRANSCENDENTAL DIALECTIC AND/OF THE CRITIQUE OF POLITICAL IDEOLOGY
1. Introduction/revision: how to make a collective out of a collection - use a signifier!
2. 'good' sublime objects: my country, good or bad
3. the 'bad' sublime objects (eg: Osama, Hussein, and other 'evil folk')
4. the Transcendental Dialectic (of the FIRST CRITIQUE), and the two types of antinomies
5. the critique of ideology and two solutions to the antinomies of ideological reason

DAY 4: THURSDAY: ZIZEK'S KANT IIII:
THE PRIMACY OF PRACTICAL REASON
1. The primacy of practical reason in Kant
2. Kant's proof in THE CRITIQUE OF PRACTICAL REASON of the immortality of - the body. Sade as the truth of Kant? (Kant's fantasy 1)
3. from radical evil to diabolical evil: or: the price of saving Adam (Kant's fantasy 2)
4. ideological fantasy and transcendental illusion
5. the primacy of practical reason in Zizek: traversing the fantasy = the act

DAY 5: FRIDAY: FROM KANT TO ZIZEK
1. Intro/revision:the crack in the universal and the subject of politics
2. Antinomies of Zizek's Critical Reason