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The Formulae of Sexuation

The Letter, Issue 30, Spring 2004, Pages 44 - 61


THE FORMULAE OF SEXUATION From Inexistence to Possibility and from Impossibility to Contingency*


Patricia McCarthy


The field of lalangue is constituted from the real and has to be thought of as leached of any psychology or representation. It forges the semblance of man and woman. It allows their induction. In the seminar ...Ou pire, Lacan is proposing - Anyway I will do my best ...ou pire (...or worse)! - that this induction has to be done through a mathematical operation which he calls the matheme of our discourse. This matheme becomes the formulae of sexuation:


lalangue matheme lacanian psychanalysis discourse

With these formulae, Lacan is proposing that the inexistence of the primal father Bx .Ox is a logical necessity that grounds the possibility that all men are subject to the phallic function Vx. Φx. While from the impossibility of there existing someone who is not subject to the phallic function Ǝx. Φx, there is the contingency that not-all of the woman is subject to the phallic function Vx. Φx. These references to the primal father, men, woman give 'personality' to the logical dimension of castration and its relation to sexual enjoyment. This paper explores the possibilities around the terms of castration and sexual enjoyment and their place in the formulae.


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