Patricia McCarthy – In Praise of Incompleteness

Issue 39 (Autumn 2008)

In Todd Haynes 2007 movie on the life o f Bob Dylan I’m Not There, one of the many Dylan semblances states ‘I ’m not there but the song goes on As parletres, we are subject to lalangue, expressed equally as, we are subject to the phallic function (p. Lacan’s unwavering stance is that the phallic function calls the shots and how it is ‘variabilised’ decides our existence and our sexuality. We exist as semblances which doesn’t allow a complementarity or ratio between a couple man and woman being the exemplars. Making the phallic function its keystone, Lacan built his formulae o f sexuation a version o f Aristotle’s logical square – with the mathematical bricks o f function and variable as fashioned by Frege (1848- 1925). His formulae show the limitation o f a logic, cf. Aristotle’s, that masks rather than handles the fault or faille that structures us. Beginning with a detailed examination o f the relationship between function and variable, this commentary recasts the concept o f the Primal Father, the at-least-one who is not subject to the phallic function as a necessary inexistent, by revisiting the paradigmatic case o f Little Hans. It concludes with a comment on the fault in knowledge systems recognised by Peirce and Godel in science and mathematics and by Lacan in his not all – as ultimately residing in……

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