Cogito and the Unconscious

Editor : Slavoj Zizek

Cogito and the Unconscious

Book Details

  • Publisher : Duke UP
  • Published : 1998
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 288
  • Category :
    Lacanian Psychoanalysis
  • Catalogue No : 5607
  • ISBN 13 : 9780822320975
  • ISBN 10 : 0822320975

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The Cartesian cogito - the principle articulated by Descartes that 'I think, therefore I am' - is often hailed as the precursor of modern science. At the same time, the cogito's agent, the ego, is sometimes feared as the agency of manipulative domination responsible for all present woes, from patriarchal oppression to ecological catastrophes. Without psychoanalysing philosophy, Cogito and the Unconscious explores the vicissitudes of the cogito and shows that psychoanalyses can render visible a constitutive madness within modern philosophy, the point at which 'I think, therefore I am' becomes obsessional neurosis characterised by 'If I stop thinking, I will cease to exist'.

Noting that for Lacan the Cartesian construct is the same as the Freudian 'subject of the unconscious', the contributors follow Lacan's plea for a psychoanalytic return to the cogito.Along the path of this return, they examine the ethical attitude that befits modern subjectivity; the inherent sexualisation of modern subjectivity; the impasse in which the Cartesian project becomes involved given the enigmatic status of the human body; and, the Cartesian subject's confrontation with its modern critics including Althusser, Bataille, and Dennett. In a style that has become familiar to Zizek's readers, these essays bring together a strict conceptual analysis and an approach to a wide range of cultural and ideological phenomena - from the sadist paradoxes of Kant's moral philosophy to the universe of Ayn Rand's novels, from the question 'Which, if any, is the sex of the cogito?' to the defense of the cogito against the onslaught of cognitive sciences.

Challenging us to reconsider fundamental notions of human consciousness and modern subjectivity, this is a book whose very Lacanian orthodoxy makes it irreverently transgressive of predominant theoretical paradigms. Cogito and the Unconscious will appeal to readers interested in philosophy, psychoanalysis, cultural studies, and theories of ideology. It's contributors include: Miran Bozovic, Mladen Dolar, Alain Grosrichard, Marc de Kessel, Robert Pfaller, Renata Salecl, Slavoj Zizek, and Alenka Zuapncic.

About the Editor(s)

Slavoj Zizek is a Hegelian philosopher, Lacanian psychoanalyst, and political activist. He is international director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities and the author of numerous books on dialectical materialism, critique of ideology and art.

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