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Title: Does Lacan have a theory of consciousness?
Author: Bush, Jeffrey
ISNI:       0000 0004 2737 1821
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2012
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There is a tension between an anti-biological phenomenology and a behaviouristic determinism in Lacan's thought. There are also numerous references to, on the one hand, Kant and Heidegger; and, on the other, Frege and Wittgenstein in his thought. Despite this, there has been little attempt to fully explore the relationship between continental and analytic thought in Lacan's work; and, there has been no attempt to investigate whether Lacan has a theory of consciousness even though Lacan refers to consciousness frequently in both his seminars and his writings. This thesis seeks to redress this gap in understanding. It is argued that the relationship between consciousness and the unconscious, in Lacan's pre-Second World War (phenomenological) thought, is one of extension rather than opposition. However, his early (post-Second World War) theory of the unconscious is seen to be underpinned by a materialism that we find in the analytic, as well as the continental, tradition where consciousness is surface epiphenomena and what lies beneath (for Lacan, the unconscious) is computational process. This materialism is taken to its hyperlogical extreme in Lacan' s later theory of the unconscious which, it is argued, is underpinned by a kind of digital materialism. The early and later Lacan might be in danger of advocating a view of materialism that supports, rather than negates, analytic thought on consciousness but his theory of the unconscious can also be seen to oppose analytic thought. This thesis suggests that one reading of later Lacanian thought emphasises the relation to Frege; and another emphasises the relation to Kant. However, in this late theory of the unconscious, the rejection of a Kantian framework and the adoption (under the guidance of JacquesAlain Miller) of a Fregean framework makes Lacan's theory of the unconscious compatible with analytic theories of consciousness.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available