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From One Turn to the Other

The Letter, Issue 53, Summer 2013, Pages 41 - 46


Christian Fierens

(161) The starting point of psychoanalytic logic is the Heteros, the ‘notall’. If Plato’s Parmenides opens out onto the Heteros, we must nevertheless await the coming of the practice of ab-sense or psychoanalysis to set en route the logic of the Heteros; for it is only in ‘the equivocation of the signifier’ that the logic of the ‘notall’ appears as logic of the impossible or logic of the reversal proper to the roundabout of discourses. Already at work in the first two phallic formulae, especially in these naval manoeuvres and these dances with which history is woven, the ‘notall’ must be explained in a second turn.

The riddle of the notall (24e; 468)

How conceive the riddle of the notall?

To the riddle posed by the Sphynx – ‘what is the animal that walks on four paws in the morning, two paws at midday, and three paws in the evening? – Oedipus responded: ‘man’.

Far from repeating the riddle of the Sphynx and Oedipus’ interpretation, Lacan asks himself the question: ‘What is a woman’? And he responds by the count of four, two, three: - by the quadrupod of the four places of the discourses (chapter 2), - by the bipod of the sexes that remain without a relationship (chapter 3) and – by the tripod formed by the two sexes and the phallic function (chapter 4).

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