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From Königsberg to Cartel

The Letter, Issue 63, Autumn 2016, Pages 49 - 58


Kim Spendlove

This paper comes of my work in one of the cartels of the Irish School for Lacanian Psychoanalysis (ISLP) where we focused on the Second Turn of Lacan‘s L’Etourdit and the later chapters of Christian Fierens’ Second Reading. It was presented at the ISLP Study Day on June 11th 2016. By compiling some historical references of note from mathematics, topology and psychoanalysis, my intention was to reference the usefulness of topology in the psychoanalytic clinic.

Keywords: topology; topography; torus; table of transformations; drug addiction; circle of demand

Why is topology useful in the practice of psychoanalysis? With a view to informing this question, we need to examine some historical aspects of the development of topology as a branch of mathematics. Topology comes from the Greek words μελέτη (study) and χώρα (space), and in mathematics, it designates properties of a particular space that are preserved under various manipulations. Its origins can be traced back to the early seventeenth century when Gottfried Leibniz[1] became interested in geometria situs (Latin for geometry of place) and analysis situs (Latin for picking apart). Topology developed as a field of study out of geometry and set theory, through the analysis of concepts such as space, dimension, and transformation.[2]

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