Alireza Taheri: Psychoanalytic Topology
Updated: Jun 2, 2022
𝐔𝐏𝐂𝐎𝐌𝐈𝐍𝐆 𝐖𝐎𝐑𝐊𝐒𝐇𝐎𝐏: 𝐀𝐥𝐢𝐫𝐞𝐳𝐚 𝐓𝐚𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐢: 𝐏𝐬𝐲𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐚𝐧𝐚𝐥𝐲𝐭𝐢𝐜 𝐓𝐨𝐩𝐨𝐥𝐨𝐠𝐲
Lacanian topology is the contemporary heir to speculative philosophy. The Moebius strip, the Torus and the Klein bottle all stage paradoxes for the common understanding (e.g. an object that has its centre of gravity outside itself, a surface with only one side). Only a paradoxical topology can grasp the object in its inherent contradictions. Lacan’s move to topological thinking must be seen as a corrective to both spatial and temporal thought (two aspects of representational thought). An inherent limitation of representational thought is that it depicts contradiction in such a way that “the contradictory is held external to itself, next to and after itself” (Hegel quoted McGowan, 2019, 118). Time and space are ideological categories insofar as they misrecognize the paradoxical unity of an entity by falsely dividing it into disparate moments. Rather than depict one thing that is internally divided, representational thought puts forward two separate self-identical objects conceived as different only from one another. Lacan’s topology corrects this shortcoming and creates a new “imaginary” as an endeavour to overcome the limitations of Kant’s transcendental aesthetics: “I maintain that transcendental aesthetics has to be recast in our times” (Lacan, 2006). Elsewhere, Lacan (2001) asks: “Is topology not this no’space [n’espace], into which mathematical discourse leads us and which necessitates a revision of Kant’s transcendental aesthetics?” Similarly, Hegel casts his own speculative philosophy in opposition to Kant. Does this common urge to overcome Kantian ontology not further confirm the kinship between Lacan and Hegel? The Lacanian “No’space” (as an alternative to Kantian transcendental aesthetics) provides the most current manifestation of the Hegelian project.
Lacan, J. (2001) Autres Écrits. Éditions du Seuil. Paris.
Lacan, J. (2006) Écrits. Translated by Fink B. In collaboration with Fink, H. and Grigg, R. W.W. Norton and Company. New York and London. Page numbers refer to the French original displayed on the margin of the text.
McGowan, T. (2019) Emancipation After Hegel: Achieving a Contradictory Revolution. Columbia University Press. New York.