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Synopsis of Jean-Claude Milner, ‘Avertissement: Sur l’objet de la psychanalyse’

[‘Foreword: On the Object of Psychoanalysis’]

CpA 3.Introduction:3

What is at stake in this third volume of the Cahiers, devoted to ‘the object of psychoanalysis’, Milner explains, is an interrogation of the ‘object’ of unconscious desire, understood as the ‘point that regulates a discourse’s line of sight’, i.e. the point at which it aims [sa visée]. (Lacan names this object objet petit a).

This will involve, first, an exploration of the space determined by this point, its ‘depth [...], extension and laws’. Such exploration will enable a better understanding of the way signification (the logic of the signifier) structures the subject, both in its ‘singular relation to the object’ and through the ‘succession of states through which it goes in the instauration of the forms of communication that locate it’. And in the second place, it will involve testing the concepts of this domain in such a way as to grasp the logic that links them.

The unity of this double movement, Milner suggests (in a concluding sentence whose syntax is a fine example of the general style and logic of the Cahiers as a whole) can be understood from the perspective developed by Lacan, whose work allows us to articulate the effects of the signifier together with an elucidation of the object of desire; in each case what is at stake is the ‘split structuration of the subject’ that both founds these effects and is summoned by them.

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