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Continental Philosophy Review

, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 251–269 | Cite as

“The object in the mirror of genetic transcendentalism: Lacan’s objet petit a between visibility and invisibility,”

  • Adrian JohnstonEmail author
Article

Abstract

One of the more superficially perplexing features of Lacan’s notion of objet petit a is the fact that he simultaneously characterizes it as both non-specularizable (i.e., incapable of being captured in spatio-temporal representations) and specular (i.e., incarnated in visible avatars). This assignment of the apparently contradictory attributes of visibility and invisibility to object a is a reflection of this object’s strange position at the intersection of transcendental and empirical dimensions. Indeed, this object, which Lacan holds up as his central psychoanalytic discovery, raises important philosophical questions about the transcendental-empirical distinction, arguably short-circuiting in interesting, productive ways this dichotomy and many of its permutations. This article seeks to achieve two aims: one, to clarify how and why Lacan situates object a between the specular and the non-specular; and, two, to extract from the results of this clarification a preliminary sketch of a post-Lacanian transcendentalism that is also thoroughly materialist.

Keywords

Lacan Mirror stage Object a Transcendentalism Materialism Hegel 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA

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