The role of German idealism in Žižek's transcendental materialism

Carew, Joseph (2010) The role of German idealism in Žižek's transcendental materialism. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

This thesis is an attempt to articulate the ambiguity of the Hegel-Schelling relationship in Slavoj Žižek's work and gesture towards some critical problems it raises. Characterizing his own transcendental materialism again and again as Hegelian, never a Schellingian project, Žižek belies his overt reliance on texts such as Schelling's Philosophical Investigations into the Essence of Human Freedom and the Ages of the World for the development of his own theory of the psychoanalytical subject. What I propose, therefore, is to read Žižek against Žižek in order to demonstrate the complex intwining of Schellingian ontology and Hegelian logic at the core of Žižek's own thinking. -- Žižek turns to German Idealist tradition in order to give a nonreductive materialist account of the emergence of the psychoanalytical subject. In the end, however, his reactualization of German Idealism intensifies the conceptual paradoxes underlying Lacanian psychoanalysis, rather them solving them. Žižek's fusion of Schelling and Hegel points to a possibly fatal ambivalence in Lacan's conception of the Real: Is it that which precedes and exceeds consciousness, or a pure lack that only represents itself through the breakdowns of the Symbolic? I will argue that Žižek's hybridism of Schelling and Hegel is unable to resolve this issue and thus calls us to return to German Idealism to understand what is truly at stake in the Schelling-Hegel conflict.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/9017
Item ID: 9017
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 92-93). -- Typescript.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Philosophy
Date: 2010
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Žižek, Slavoj; Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich, 1770-1831; Schelling, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von, 1775-1854--Philosophische Untersuchungen über das Wesen der menschlichen Freiheit; Schelling, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von, 1775-1854--Weltalter; Idealism, German; Materialism; Psychoanalysis; Transcendentalism

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