Antigone : from the ethics of desire to the ethics of the drive
In his Seminar the Ethics of Psychoanalysis Lacan mms at differentiating psychoanalytic ethics from the morality of goods. Leaving the Aristotelian eudemonia behind, he moves to the Hegelian dialectic of the Master and the slave focusing on the negating power of the signifier over the good. He names this power pure desire which essentially is the death drive that tends to deprive the Other of that good which constitutes him as whole. The idea of coming to terms with the lack of the Other is what Lacan wished to define as the ethical act which would bring about the experience of jouissance. In order to identify such an act, Lacan moves to Kant and his theorisation of the moral law. Kant proposes two readings thereof; one defined as a void through which the drive transgresses the limits of the signifier and comes to terms with jouissance and the other defined as the voice of conscience which restrains the subject into the field of the signifier aiming at pleasure. Lacan develops an ethics of desire. Even though Kant's first definition of the moral law would have allowed Lacan to define ethics in terms of jouissance, he follows the second option and the idea that beauty can create a veil in front of the experience of lack. This allows Lacan to propose that the ethical act comes about through the process of sublimation which involves the redefinition of the subject's fundamental fantasy and the inability of the drive to transgress the limit of desire. Nevertheless he has chosen Antigone to show that the ethical act involves something more; that is going beyond the signifier. It is through the idea of the Other jouissance that the drive can transgress the limit of the signifier. This thesis proposes a redefinition of psychoanalytic ethics through a reading of Antigone in terms of the Other jouissance.