Julien Quackelbeen – Lacanian Comments on What Can I Know, What Ought I Do, What May I Hope For

THE LETTER 02 (Autumn 1994) pages 1-46

It must surely have struck the reader of the Ecrits how often Lacan refers to Kant. The reader of the Seminars is so familiar with this reference to the great philosopher of Koningsberg that in the long run he is erroneously going to take it for granted.

When Jacques -Alain Miller starts the sixth chapter of Television with the invitation to make a stand against Kant, he is not only aware of the fact that his question is stimulating, he also realizes that it nourishes a fundamental ambiguity. This ambiguity is revealed by two possible characterizations of Lacan: “Lacan, philosopher amongst analysts” versus “Lacan, analyst amongst philosophers”. Miller had supported the philosopher Lacan when he invited him to give a lecture on the foundations of Fregian logic during his 1963-1964 seminar. When he abandons his masters Canguilhem and Althusser, he will do so to join Lacan, the analyst.

So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to us when we once more find both of these views of Lacan in a debate which, although it announces itself as strictly philosophical, will not escape from the aforementioned poly valence. “Three questions summarize Kant – see the Canon of the First Critique – what he calls “the interest of our reason”: “What can I know?, What ought I to do?, What may I hope for?”(T)

By provoking an answer, a critique, a refutation from either a philosophical angle or a psychoanalytic angle, one makes room for both a…

Comments are closed.