Lacanian rewriting of transcendental aesthetics

  • Emmanuel Maudet


For many reasons, the relation between Lacan and philosophy was exceedingly complex. The main cause seems to be summed up by the following paradox: why does the psychoanalyst keep talking about it if it’s always to criticize it? Mainly because Freud and Socrates share the same core ambition. Psychoanalysis and philosophy are rivals: both claim to be the only one to find the true nature of the human being. This hypothesis is here tested by highlighting a sentence in which Lacan thinks that the famous Kantian transcendental Aesthetic is to start again. In doing so, Lacan not only discuses with the prestigious philosopher but also uses in a very peculiar way the structuralism of his dear friend, Lévi-Strauss. The anthropologist did previously try to rewrite the transcendental Aesthetic, but Lacan, as a psychoanalyst was not convinced by this scientific correction, for he considers that both philosophical and scientist approaches fail to capture the enigmatic meeting, in human beings, of language and body, which the true transcendental Aesthetic should all be about.