27 Nov 2018

The Swarming of Semblances, or the ‘Ontological Scandal’ of Language in Lacan

By Samo Tomšič
In his later teaching, the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan made several surprising theoretical manoeuvres, which are usually considered as him taking a distance from his own earlier structuralism as well as from the structuralist movement as a whole. The notion of semblance seems to engage in such a manoeuvre, as well as Lacan’s rather extravagant concept of lalangue. Both accentuate the relation between structure and instability, as well as the question of the ontological status of language (understood as an unstable and dynamic ‘accumulation of semblances’). But does this really constitute a break with structuralism or even its rejection? Or is it the concise formulation of its implicit materialist ontology?

Samo Tomšič holds a PhD in Philosophy and is currently a researcher at the Interdisciplinary Laboratory Image Knowledge Gestaltung at the Humboldt University Berlin. His research areas comprise contemporary European philosophy, structuralism and poststructuralism, psychoanalysis (Freud and Lacan), epistemology, and political philosophy. Recent publications include The Capitalist Unconscious (2015) and The Labour of Enjoyment (2018).


ICI Berlin
(Click for further documentation)

Organized by

Wilhelm Brüggen
Monika Englisch
Andreas Gehrlach
A cooperation of the BIPP, the Department of Cultural History and Theory of the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, and the ICI Berlin

Further details:

In English

First published on: https://www.ici-berlin.org/events/samo-tomsic/
Rights: © ICI Berlin
Cite as: Samo Tomšič, The Swarming of Semblances, or the ‘Ontological Scandal’ of Language in Lacan, lecture, ICI Berlin, 27 November 2018 <https://doi.org/10.25620/e181127>