By Calum Neill (auth.)
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Extra resources for Lacanian Ethics and the Assumption of Subjectivity
Lacan’s reformulation of the cogito here indicates the disunity of the subject. Either I am not thinking or I am not. Being and thought are mutually exclusive. One reason for such a reformulation is the notion of the unconscious. Thinking, for Lacan, would connote unconscious thought, as opposed to the (desired) conscious thought attested to in Descartes. e. the ego. The split here between the unconscious which refuses being and the ego which refuses unconscious thought does not indicate a true choice of positions between Lacan’s Return to Descartes 23 which some atavistic I must or even can choose.
This perplexity is formulised by Lacan in the question Che Vuoi? or What do you want? The question here is doubly directed in that it is the question addressed by the subject to the Other – what does it want from me? – but also in that it is the question assumed by the subject to be addressed to him – what do you want? what is it that you desire? The ‘answer’ to this question is provided in the form of fantasy (S/᭛a). As we have seen, the subject is necessarily constituted as incomplete. The subject, in its coming to ‘be’ through the mediating effects of the Other can only come to ‘be’ as lacking in itself.
The movement described in the second graph is now ﬁgured as entailing a ‘short-circuiting’ from /S to I(A) marked on either side by m (moi or ego) and i(a). This ‘short-circuiting’ indicates what Lacan terms a ‘double articulation’, wherein the vector which could be seen in the ﬁrst graph to pass from Δ, through the symbolic plane, to /S, now passes 36 Lacanian Ethics and the Assumption of Subjectivity from S/, through the symbolic plane, to I(A) and short-circuits underneath at the point marked i(a) to the point marked m.