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Abstracts2020-05-14T08:30:59+00:00

Here are the abstracts of some of my papers:

Can there be happiness in psychoanalysis? Creon and Antigone in Lacan’s Seminar VII

The essay shows that despite the psychoanalytic critique of the human search for happiness as futile and illusory, there can still be a positive contribution to the question of happiness from psychoanalysis. To that end, the paper turns to Lacan’s Seminar VII, and more specifically, to the Lacanian “sublimation” as “the happy satisfaction of the instinct.” Whether we can achieve a non-illusory kind of happiness through sublimation or we stay trapped in the pursuit of an illusory happiness depends on the extent to which we succeed or fail in the following two issues: 1. asking whether we have ceded on our desire and 2. accepting that no object of desire can ever be completely satisfying. Lacan offers two examples of a problematicrelation to desire: these of Creon and Antigone; Creon fails to ask the question about his desire altogether, while Antigone asks the question but fails to accept that she cannot have it all. A critical reflection of these two cases can allow us to find a positive and sustainable version of happiness in psychoanalysis.

Seeing the Stove as World: Significance (Bedeutung) in the Early Wittgenstein

What is it to see a stove as world (als Welt) and why does the early Wittgenstein use such a curious example to describe what it means to see something as significant (bedeutend)? I argue that Wittgenstein’s odd choice can be best understood in the light of a conceptual relation between value and semantic meaning. To that purpose, I draw attention to his use of the word Bedeutung to denote value, and to the direct connection he draws between seeing as world and seeing with the whole logical space. To see a stove as bedeutend, I conclude, is to see it against the background of the propositional contexts in which a stove figures meaningfully.

Wittgenstein and Diamond on meaning and experience: from groundlessness to creativity

My paper combines Ludwig Wittgenstein’s notion of ‘running up against the limits of language’ and Cora Diamond’s notion of the ‘difficulty of reality’ in order to examine those extraordinary experiences in our human lives when, at a particular moment, something appears to us that seems to have an absolute, inexpressible value. More specifically, I focus on the peculiar feeling of dissatisfaction with meaning that is likely to result from such experiences and deal with two kinds of temptation that are likely to prevent us from transforming this feeling of dissatisfaction into an act of creativity; these are, first, the temptation to regard such experiences as a manifestation of the transcendent, and, second, the temptation to trivialize such experiences by treating them as some sort of grammatical illusion. In discussing these two temptations, I intend to show that there is a third way around the dissatisfaction with meaning that consists in accepting the fact that meaning cannot be ultimately grounded in advance of any particular linguistic act, but depends largely on our individual creative engagement with language.
To access the full paper (draft version), click here.

Self-attainment, Meaning,  and The Limits of Introspective Knowledge

The paper addresses the question ‘how talking helps us become ourselves?’,  and brings together Freud and Cavell to argue that paying attention to the meaning of our words plays a central role in self-becoming. It examines the problem of self-alienation in the Freudian aim ‘ to become where It was’, as well as in what Freud describes as a disconnection between affects and representations, and argues that bringing together emotion and thought requires an attitude of attentiveness to the meaning of our words. Using Cavell’s ideas, I show that there are semantic and normative implications in our utterances that we can miss or neglect, hence the task of meaning what we say. Finally, I object to the idea that knowing what we mean is a matter of introspection only, and argue instead that it requires being attentive to what promotes a shareable understanding and to what others understand.

Objects in the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus: From ontology to everyday language

The paper examines the notion of objects (Gegenstände) in the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus as a notion that allows for a passage from ontology to everyday language. I focus on the difference between objects (Gegenstände) and facts (Tatsachen), which lies in the latter being bound up with logical space, as opposed to objects that carry no logical relations. To examine the difference I draw on Eli Friedlander’s distinction between substantive and formal possibilities and argue that the Tractarian notion of objects opens up a space apart from the realm of formal logic, namely apart from what can be given a priori. However, this does not point towards illogical features left to be approached through our senses (sense-data experience) nor in some mystical transcendent-like way, but rather towards the possibility of recognizing objects through the application of logic, in our everyday use of language.

Le niveau de signification dans le Tractatus : une approche différente

Notre texte essaie de considérer à nouveau la notion de signification chez le premier Wittgenstein (Tractatus, et Carnets 1914-1916) de deux façons: a. L’on détache la notion de signification de son rapport canonique à la notion de référence et l’on tente de la lier avec celle de l’usage, b. Une fois établie cette définition de la notion de signification comme usage, l’on se demande si elle peut être considérée comme porteuse d’un aspect de valeur. On suit ici l’approche indiquée par Eli Friedlander qui, dans les “Signes du sens” (“Signs of Sense, Reading Wittgenstein’s Tractatus”, Harvard University Press, 2001), considère la notion de valeur chez Wittgenstein comme étroitement liée au fait d’intégrer des possibilités de la signification. L’activité de “voir à travers” (durchsehen) des possibilités de signification peut ainsi devenir synonyme de l’activité de voir “sub specie aeternitatis”.