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Synopsis of Jacques-Alain Miller, ‘Avertissement’


CpA 1.Introduction:2

Jacques-Alain Miller’s short introductory text for the first volume of the Cahiers presents the journal’s general project, and defines some of the key terms at issue. It is written in the sort of clipped, concise style that will characterise many Cahiers articles. It is dated 1 January 1966.

Miller explains that the journal will publish (and in some case republish) a wide range of texts ‘relating to logic, to linguistics, to psychoanalysis, to all sciences of analysis – in view of contributing to the constitution of a theory of discourse.’ ‘By discourse, we mean a process of language [langage] that truth constrains.’ The articles collected in this first volume, Miller suggests (without further explanation), will demonstrate how such constraint involves a form of ‘suture’ (cf. CpA 1.3).

The other two key terms that Miller singles out here are epistemology and analysis. He defines epistemology as ‘the history and theory of the discourse of science’, noting that ‘its birth justifies the use of the singular [la science]’. The adjective ‘analytical’ has a broader reach, and applies here to ‘all discourse in so far as it can be reduced to putting unities in place that produce themselves and repeat themselves, whatever the principle may be that it assigns to the transformations at play in its system.’ Analysis is then ‘the theory that deals with concepts of element and their combinations.’

Miller ends with an assertion that such analysis ‘chiefly concerns dialectical materialism’, following Althusser’s lead, and he anticipates that a range of views and positions will be defended in the coming issues. ‘Nothing in our project holds to the particularity of a doctrine. For us it is only a question of training ourselves, following our teachers, in keeping with the rigour of the concept.’

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