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Some Clinical Consequences of the Logical Difference between the Sexes

The Letter, Issue 54, Autumn 2013, Pages 1 - 44


Guy Le Gaufey

We have tried to follow as closely as possible the movements of the writing by which Lacan arrived at his formulae, in the hope of dissipating while doing so some stubborn obscurities, due in large measure to the interpretations that he was the first to make of them - among others, the one that sees in the exception, in, the logical writing of the totemic father, of him who is supposed by definition to escape the phallic law validfor all, except for him. Taken in an uncritical way, this interpretation confuses a singular (there are never xtotemic fathers per hoard) and a particular which, by definition, does not as such lay claim to singularity. Atleast in logic, where it is of overriding importance to distinguish between a particular proposition and a singular proposition which, for its part, implies one and only one individual, posing by this fact other problems a propos the existence of the element with respect to which it asserts something. Lacan, though giving the example of the totemic father, does not get involved in this confusion since he believes itappropriate to name this ‘theatleastoneman’ (‘l’hommoinzun’), and therefore leaves open the possibility that there are several of them capable of supporting this exception. By reducing the particular affirmative to a singular proposition, one is exposed inversely to missing out on the difficult status of the exception that this particular encircles because by bringing its extension down to just one individual, we may as well let the narcissism of each do as it will to reduce this exception to a ‘self’ (momentarily projected into the exceptional other), and in this way play half the fish caught by Lacan.

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