What IS Sex?

What IS Sex?

by Alenka Zupancic

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Overview

Why sexuality is at the point of a “short circuit” between ontology and epistemology.

Consider sublimation—conventionally understood as a substitute satisfaction for missing sexual satisfaction. But what if, as Lacan claims, we can get exactly the same satisfaction that we get from sex from talking (or writing, painting, praying, or other activities)? The point is not to explain the satisfaction from talking by pointing to its sexual origin, but that the satisfaction from talking is itself sexual. The satisfaction from talking contains a key to sexual satisfaction (and not the other way around)—even a key to sexuality itself and its inherent contradictions. The Lacanian perspective would make the answer to the simple-seeming question, “What is sex?” rather more complex. In this volume in the Short Circuits series, Alenka Zupančič approaches the question from just this perspective, considering sexuality a properly philosophical problem for psychoanalysis; and by psychoanalysis, she means that of Freud and Lacan, not that of the kind of clinician practitioners called by Lacan “orthopedists of the unconscious.”

Zupančič argues that sexuality is at the point of a “short circuit” between ontology and epistemology. Sexuality and knowledge are structured around a fundamental negativity, which unites them at the point of the unconscious. The unconscious (as linked to sexuality) is the concept of an inherent link between being and knowledge in their very negativity.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780262534130
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 09/08/2017
Series: Short Circuits
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 162
Sales rank: 625,584
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Alenka Zupančič, a Slovenian psychoanalytic theorist and philosopher, teaches at the European Graduate School and is a researcher at the Institute of Philosophy at the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and the Arts. She is the author of The Shortest Shadow: Nietzsche's Philosophy of the Two and The Odd One In: On Comedy, both in the Short Circuits series, published by the MIT Press.

Table of Contents

Series Foreword vii

Introduction 1

1 It's Getting Strange in Here … 5

Did Somebody Say Sex? 5

Where Do Adults Come From? 8

Christianity and Polymorphous Perversity 12

2 …And Even Stranger Out There 21

The Quandary of the Relation 21

The Anti-Sexus 25

"The Invisible 'Handjob' of the Market" 30

3 Contradictions that Matter 35

Sex or Gender? 35

Sexual Division, a Problem in Ontology 44

The te m' athème … moi non plus 62

4 Object-Disoriented Ontology 73

Realism in Psychoanalysis 73

Human, Animal 84

Death Drive I: Freud 94

Trauma outside Experience 106

Death Drive II: Lacan and Deleuze 110

Being, Event, and Its Consequences: Lacan and Badiou 128

Conclusion: From Adam's Navel to Dream's Navel 141

Notes 145

Bibliography 151

What People are Saying About This

Joan Copjec

Zupančič performs here a remarkable feat: with the consummate clarity and precision for which she has become known, she restores to sex its florid obscurity and its enigmatic logic and gives to sexuality the ontological dignity it is due. This book is bound to be heralded as an event.

Eric L. Santner

Freud argued that there was something fundamentally unsatisfying at the very core of sexuality. What Is Sex? is surely one of the most satisfying accounts we've ever had of this 'something.'

Endorsement

Freud argued that there was something fundamentally unsatisfying at the very core of sexuality. What Is Sex? is surely one of the most satisfying accounts we've ever had of this 'something.'

Eric L. Santner, The Philip and Ida Romberg Distinguished Service Professor in Modern Germanic Studies, The University of Chicago

From the Publisher

Zupancic's latest work takes your breath away. It is a pathbreaking discovery of the philosophical wager at the heart of the psychoanalytic project. Zupancic forces us to confront for the first time the ontological significance of sex.

Todd McGowan, Professor of English, University of Vermont; author of Capitalism and Desire

Zupancic performs here a remarkable feat: with the consummate clarity and precision for which she has become known, she restores to sex its florid obscurity and its enigmatic logic and gives to sexuality the ontological dignity it is due. This book is bound to be heralded as an event.

Joan Copjec, Professor, Brown University; author of Read My Desire and Imagine There's No Woman

Freud argued that there was something fundamentally unsatisfying at the very core of sexuality. What Is Sex? is surely one of the most satisfying accounts we've ever had of this 'something.'

Eric L. Santner, The Philip and Ida Romberg Distinguished Service Professor in Modern Germanic Studies, The University of Chicago

Todd McGowan

Zupančič's latest work takes your breath away. It is a pathbreaking discovery of the philosophical wager at the heart of the psychoanalytic project. Zupančič forces us to confront for the first time the ontological significance of sex.

Customer Reviews