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4 The Obstacle: Jacques Lacan’s Critique of the Formal Logical Representation of the Real

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Chapter Summary

This chapter shows that Jacques Lacan has sought to insert the great Freudian discovery of the unconscious to the vocabulary of philosophers, anthropologists, theologians, and linguists. It argues that Lacan's psychoanalytical concept of the obstacle is nothing short of a critique of the formal logical representation of the question fundamentally concerning ontology, namely what is. The chapter examines Lacan's elusive concept of "the real", since the argument provides a theoretical context within which Lacan used it. The "real" in Lacan's theory indicates an X outside language, which "resist symbolization". Drawing on this assumption, Lacan's concept of the obstacle is inserted into the "real" as that which resists symbolization, and by extension, logical formalization. This ontological condition, i.e. that the real cannot be symbolized and hence formalized, effectively enables a Lacanian critique of the possibility of a formal logical representation of metaphysical concepts.

Keywords: formal logical representation; Freudian theory; Jacques Lacan's critique; psychoanalytical concept

10.1163/9789004270183_006
/content/books/b9789004270183_006
dcterms_subject,pub_keyword
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