La science idéale et la science positive (French Edition)

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A simple matching worksheet for some key hotel vocab. This card game based on Happy Families revises clothes and colours. Don't show this message again. Keep me logged in. In other terms, because there is no scientific ideal as regards psychoanalysis, there is also no ideal science for it. Psychoanalysis will find in itself the foundation of its principles and its methods. To demonstrate that science does not work as an ideal, Lacan makes use of a broad range of operators from homomorphous to historical ones: succession and discontinuity [coupure].

For the sake of clarity, it is preferable to adopt here the mores of geometers, who reason with axioms and theorems. There is a discontinuity between the ancient world and the modern universe; 2. This discontinuity stems from Christianity. Clearly these two theorems rest on an axiom, that one can find under different forms in a number of authors, the most recent being Michel Foucault: "There are discontinuities. In other words, one must give at least another axiom; I will not thematize it here. There is a discontinuity between the ancient episteme and modern science; 2.

Modern science is Galilean science, whose type is mathematical physics. Lacan's lemmas: 1. Modern science constitutes itself through Christianity, inasmuch as it distinguishes itself from the ancient world. Since the point of distinction between Christianity and the ancient world emerges from Judaism, modern science constitutes itself through the Jewish elements in Christianity 7.

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Through this vocabulary, those clever enough will have no trouble articulating one of the possible answers to the question of why Lacan constructs a theory of science. They will say that it is not due to scientism, since Lacan does not believe in the scientific ideal. The reason will then be located in historicizing theses such as: "The emergence of Galilean science has made psychoanalysis possible", or "Psychoanalysis is inconceivable without the suturation operated by modern science with regard to the subject", or "Psychoanalysis could only deploy itself in the infinite Universe of science", etc.

The problem is that these answers, as such, mean nothing; they merely reiterate the question in a different form. In a more general sense, one must not be taken in too much by Lacan when he favors the set-up of massive relations. Of relevance here is the Lacanian "learned conversation" [conversation savante], a tradition that begins with Montaigne and La Mothe le Vayer, if not already with Aulus Gellus or Macrobius.

That the Lacanian matheme does not obscure the Lacanian learned conversation can easily be granted, but the converse also holds true. Now, one must hold on to the proposition: "periodization" does not belong to mathemes but to conversations. Therefore it never constitutes the last word of any question. In this sense, "periodization" has a precise function: to show that the couple "scientific ideal"-"ideal science" has no pertinence in relation to psychoanalysis. What is in this regard more effective than the operators of succession and discontinuity, whose small change is a well-bred relativism and nominalism?

I venture the following: Freud, in order to clear the way for psychoanalysis in a conjunction dominated by philosophical idealism, had to support himself on the scientism of the scientific ideal; the price to pay was nothing other than the scientism of the ideal science. Lacan, in order to clear the way for psychoanalysis in a conjunction where the psychoanalytical institutions had let themselves be dominated by the scientism of the ideal science, had to relativize and nominalize; the price to pay was the discourse of periodicity.

Such is the function of the theory of discourses: to reveal the properties of a discourse in general discourse, in Lacan, is a social bond , and, in so doing, to show that heterogeneity and multiplicity belong intrinsically to it. They are not simply the discursive effects of periods and epochs which in themselves would be extrinsic to the discourses. In particular, they are not simply projected on the axis of successions. Through a doctrine of the plurality of places, of the plurality of terms, of the difference between properties of place and properties of terms, and of the mutability of the terms relative to the places, one obtains a non-chronological articulation of the concept of discontinuity [coupure].

No doubt that the emergence of a new discourse, the passage of one discourse to another which Lacan calls "le quart de tour", the quarter of a complete circle , the shift, can produce the event. Moreover, no doubt that each of these events is an object that historians try to capture in the form of chronology. But the events are not what the historians say they are. An appeal to the weapons of structuralism is useful here: granted that the theory of discourses makes literal places and terms, the discontinuity [coupure] is primarily the marking off of a literal impossibility.

It is impossible that one system of letters be another one; it is impossible for a system of letters to pass without upheavals to another system of letters. In other words, there are no transformations from system to system without catastrophes. But, at a deeper level, what intervenes is the logic of the disjunction between resemblance and identity: every discontinuity [coupure] can be articulated in terms of a theory of homonymy and of synonymy, formulated as follows: - only homonymies exist between discourses on either side of a discontinuity, or - there is no synonymy between discourses, or - between different discourses, there is no other relation but that of discontinuity, or finally - what historians understand as discontinuities are literal heterogeneities.

Evidently the problem is to know what this means. Nothing is easier here than to miss the point. Ancient science, the episteme, was accomplished only when it had explained that through which an object could not, in all necessity and for all eternity, be other than what it is. Still more precisely, the aspect of episteme in any discourse was only the gathering of the necessary and the eternal in the object, as grasped by the discourse. From this it follows that an object lends itself more naturally to the episteme the more it allows for the uncovering of what in it makes it eternal and necessary, so that there is no science of what can be other than what it is, while the most accomplished science is the science of the most eternal and necessary object: theology is the horizon of the episteme.

From there it also follows that science could find its support in man only in what related him to the eternal and the necessary, namely, in the soul. The latter was distinguished from the body, that is, from that instance in man, through which he is related to the fleeting and the contingent. Finally, from there, it follows that mathematics offers science the paradigm of choice.

For mathematics, as inherited from the Greeks, is a matter of the necessary and the eternal. Forms and Numbers cannot be other than what they are and, at the same time, for all eternity, cannot emerge into being or cease to be as they are. The necessity of demonstrations is valid only to the extent that it is conatural with necessity in itself. Just as the trajectories of celestial bodies crystallize for the corporal eye the most adequate figure of the eternal, so the path that leads from principles and axioms to conclusions crystallizes for the eyes of the soul the most adequate figure of necessity 8.

Conversely, the empirical, in its diversity, incessantly emerges into Being and passes away [stops from Being], thus incessantly being other than what it is. The empirical is thus intrinsically anti-mathematical. If however mathematics can grasp something in this diversity, then this should be that which lets itself be recognized as identical to itself and as eternal. In short, mathematics is the gateway to every doctrine of the Same 9.

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Greek science is thus mathematical in the exact measure that neither science nor mathematics are empirical. In other words, Greek science is not mathematized that is, not calculating the empirical as such. The latter claims that scientific propositions must be refutable; in so doing Popper defines, under the name of demarcation, what one can call the Discriminant of Popper: a proposition can be refutable only if its negation is neither senseless nor logically contradictory.

Put otherwise, its reference must be capable-logically or materially-to be other than what it is: that is contingency. Only a contingent proposition is refutable and there is only a science of the contingent.

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  • The consequence is that science is no longer mathematical but mathematized. It calculates the empirical as such, without converting it into Forms and Numbers. The necessity of its reasonings does not share a conaturality with the necessity of the Ideas. It requires no soul, and, even if the soul exists, it demands nothing from it.

    The decisive middle term is the contingent. Their reality [ If one accepts that the proper character of the modern letter consists in grasping the contingent as contingent, the motto of the scientific age would then be: never will any letter abolish chance. And who would deny that the letter is a throw of the dice?

    The letter is as it is, without any reason that makes it be as it is; likewise, there is no reason for the letter to be other than what it is. And if it were other than what it is, it would only be another letter. A discourse can at most change its letter, but not change the letter. However, this turn can be misleading, for the letter ultimately assumes the traits of immutability, homomorphous to those of the eternal idea.

    Undoubtedly, the immutability of that which has no reason to be as it is, has nothing to do with the immutability of that which cannot, without violating reason, be other than what it is. But the imaginary homomorphy remains. From this it follows that the captation of the diverse by the letter gives it, insofar as the diverse can be other than what it is, the imaginary traits of that which cannot be other than what it is: this is what we call the necessity of the laws of science. It resembles in all aspects the necessity of the supreme Being, but it resembles it only insofar as it has nothing to do with it.

    The structure of modern science rests entirely on contingency. The material necessity that one recognizes to the laws is the scar marking this contingency itself. In the flash of an instant, each point of each referent of every proposition of science appears, from an infinity of points of view, as capable of being infinitely other than what it is.

    But the condition of the subsequent instant is the previous instant.

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    To show that a point of the universe is as it is, requires a throw of dice of a possible universe, in which this point would be other than what it is This doctrine has given a name to the interval of time in which the dice roll in the air before falling: emergence of the subject, who is not the thrower the thrower does not exist , but the dice themselves insofar as they are suspended. In the vertigo of these mutually exclusive possibles, there finally bursts forth, in the subsequent instant when the dice fall, the flash of the impossible: it is impossible, once they have fallen, for the dice to bear a different number on their legible face.

    Here one sees that the impossible, instead of being separable from contingency, on the contrary constitutes its real nucleus. In order to see this, one would have to pass continually from the anterior to the ulterior. But this is not possible because one would also have to return continually from the ulterior to the anterior.

    In any case, science does not permit this; once the letter fixes itself, what remains is only necessity which imposes the oblivion of the contingency that authorized it. Lacan terms suture the inopportunity [untimeliness] of this return. He terms forclosure [forclusion] the radicality of the oblivion. Since the subject is what emerges in the step from one instant to the other, suture and forclosure are necessarily those of the subject The integral set of points, to which the propositions of science refer, is usually called the Universe.

    Since each of these points must be understood as an oscillation and an infinite variation, since, furthermore, it is sufficient that a single variation affects one point for two possible universes to be distinct, since, moreover, due to this fact, the possible universes are of an infinite number, and finally, since the Universe does not exist for science otherwise than through the detour of these possible universes, then the Universe necessarily is infinite and would not cease being so, even if the points constituting it happened to be actually of a finite number.

    One could say that this is a qualitative infinity rather than a quantitative one. But it is through contingency alone that this infinity comes to the Universe and comes to it from its inside.

    Isabelle Berquin ~Scientific translations English French (life sciences, medical)

    This fact, once again, overwhelms the customary relations which all too easily connect the infinite to an exterior place transcending the Universe. The Universe, as object of science and as contingent object, is intrinsically infinite 14 ; the marks of its infinity are to be found not outside but within. The modern thesis par excellence will thus read: There is no finitude in the Universe. This turns out to be difficult to imagine.

    Hence the recurrence, in representations, of the figures of what is outside-the-Universe [hors-Univers]. One attributes to God, or Man, some specific property that makes Him an exception to the Universe, which, as such, constitutes this Universe as a Whole. This property of exception receives different names; for a long time philosophy appealed to the soul, that instance in man relating him to God. But one knows that the soul is linked to the episteme.

    When the latter gave way to modern science, the soul gradually had also to give way. Then came consciousness. It is, precisely, here that psychoanalysis intervenes.

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    • It takes up once more the problem of the Universe and resolves it as follows: the unconscious is the concept that there is only one Universe from which nothing is excepted, not even Man, it is what says "No" to consciousness. The name of the "unconscious" becomes thereby clear: if consciousness, and more particularly self-consciousness, collects under its name the privileges of Man, as the exception to the Whole, the negation with which Freud affects consciousness has only one function: to render obsolete these privileges.

      In truth, in the same movement one concludes that consciousness itself is not very important; what is important are the privileges for which "consciousness" became, for a time, the label. Through consciousness are further attained all other possible labels: the soul, as much as consciousness. The above renders particularly clear the effort Lacan, taking a step further than Freud, did to gash the soul The program is double: science sans coscience science without consciousness and, consequently, ruin of the soul.

      It is true, as Freud asserted, that psychoanalysis wounds narcissism, and that herein lies its affinity with Copernicus, that is, with modern science. But to understand this point, one must add that narcissism always boils down to a demand for self-exception-and reciprocally. The hypothesis of the unconscious is nothing but a different way to affirm the non-existence of such exceptions; for this very reason, it is nothing more and nothing less than an affirmation of the Universe of science. Not only does the unconscious accomplish the program that Rabelais feared, but it also turns out to assume very precisely the functions of the infinite.

      And just as formerly the support of the infinite was looked for outside of the Universe, in God, one now sees that God is unconscious, in the sense that one says but with opposite effects : God is love. Further, the two words exhibit the same structure: one says Unbewusst [unconscious] like one says Unendlich [infinite].

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      The infinite is what says "No" to the exception of finitude; the unconscious is what says "No" to self-consciousness as privilege. Undoubtedly Lacan has often commented unfavorably on the negative character of the word Unbewusst. One can recognize in it the Cartesian doctrine: the infinite is primary and positive, the finite is secondary and obtained, in a certain sense, through withdrawal; likewise, the unconscious explains the conscious, and not conversely. The unconscious is shorthand for an affirmation and not a limitation. Nonetheless, the bar of negation has its virtues.

      What is more, the German language adds some more to all this. The prefix un- is not always as flatly negative as the Latin prefix in; it is not always just the delimitation of the complementary of the domain signified by the positive. Thus, the Unmensch is not a non-human, but a failed man, a monster; the Unkraut is an herb Kraut , but a bad and parasitical herb; the unheimlich is not the inverse of the familiar, but the familiar that is haunted by something that disperses it. Likewise, we can say that, in the modern universe, there is no distinction in domains between the finite and the infinite, but that the infinite is incessantly parasitical to the finite.

      This is so in the sense that every finite, inasmuch as science can grasp it, posits itself first and foremost as having had the capacity of being infinitely otherwise. In any case, this is not far from Descartes as the theoretician of eternal truths. Similarly, in psychoanalysis the unconscious is incessantly parasitical to the conscious; it manifests the conscious as capable of being otherwise than it is, and only at this prize does it establish the respects in which the conscious cannot be other than what it is.