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Jacques the SophistLacan, Logos, and Psychoanalysis$
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Barbara Cassin

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780823285754

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823285754.001.0001

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Sense and Nonsense, or Lacan’s Anti-Aristotelianism

Sense and Nonsense, or Lacan’s Anti-Aristotelianism

(p.59) Chapter 4 Sense and Nonsense, or Lacan’s Anti-Aristotelianism
Jacques the Sophist

Barbara Cassin

Fordham University Press

At stake in this chapter is a reading of Lacan and the Sophists as sharing a common and radical challenge to the Aristotelian principle of non-contradiction (something “cannot be and not be at the same time”). This is what Cassin has elsewhere theorized as the Aristotelian “decision of meaning,” or logos as an operation of exclusion of its “bad others,” including polysemy, homonymy, and nonsense.Equivocation becomes for Cassin, as it is for Lacan, not simply one aspect among others of language (and by extension, of translation), but its very condition of possibility. Through a detailed reading of key sections of Freud’s Jokes and their Relation to the Unconscious, Freud and Lacan are, when read in the light of Aristotle and in terms of this decision of meaning, seen as perhaps first and foremost Sophists.

Keywords:   decision of meaning, equivocation, Freudian jokes, homonymy, nonsense, sense

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