Badiou’s Revision of Sartre’s Fused Group

Daniel Tutt

In his late Marxist work, Critique of Dialectical Reason, Sartre was pessimistic about revolutionary politics. He theorized the subject of history in the figure of the group in revolt, what he termed the ‘fused group’. The fused group, through their acts of negation (revolt), develop a new interior, untranscedable position. In a Lacanian sense, Sartre’s fused group is able to persist without the big Other. They have, as Sartre would say, dissolved the inert being of alienated social existence.

In the fused group, each member inhabits the role of what Sartre calls the third party, escaping the institutional inertia and transcending (Sartre’s words) ordinary social being. I read this as an ontological change which starts a new dialectic, what he calls the constituted dialectic based in a resurgence of a new knowledge of being. The dialectic that the fused group unleashes brings the subject back into the world, a move which was counter to the dominant…

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On Shame, or the Proof of the Other’s Inexistence

“symptoms are often located at the site of the failure of the big Other, is that they have gone through all the meritorious motions that society asks of them. They have technically found “success” objectively through the market and so on, but they are still left with a sense of emptiness. But, the big Other – that force in their life that is there which assures meaning to one’s work – who assures that the dream will work is now gone. Whereof does one find support for the vanquished Other that guaranteed some modicum of success? The inexistence of this Other is leading to an even more brutal superegoic injunction for this path of merit, where the subject seeks out a surplus jouissance in the absence of the Other” – Daniel Tutt

Daniel Tutt

In analysis, one of the most frustrating questions an analyst can ask is: “Yes, I know that’s what you are saying, but is it really that way, or is what you are saying more of a wish?”  Or, I know that you think you are over this, or that you have identified the way this is making you feel, but do you really want to leave it behind, to move past it?  What the analyst is saying, in other words is that you may have recognized your symptom, but now comes the hard work of working through it, of talking about it from every conceivable angle until you come to a new relation towards it entirely.

But for every symptom there is a social dimension.  For Freud, the social dimension of the symptom relied on an Other that was consistent, an Other that produced what’s often called the “neurotic subject”…

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Bruce Fink Tells a Tale

Objet petit a

Bruce Fink a practicing psychoanalyst (who studied under Jacques Lacan) and prolific author in his own right, has recently written a book of three stories entitled, The Psychoanalytic Adventures of Inspector Canal. I just picked this book up a few days ago and finished reading the first of the three stories called “The Case of the Missing Object.” This is a great text and I plan on using this in my course that introduces psychoanalysis to my college students.

The plot takes off because the music director of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra has reported the theft of a very old and significant musical score.  The main character, Dr. Canal is a retired inspector from the French Secret Services who now lives in New York.  He is called to the scene by his acquaintance Olivetti who is an inspector in the New York Police Department.  The latter is a…

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Badiou on Sartre


I linked to this essay below, but I like anytime Badiou talks about Sartre. And he quotes from several of Sartre’s better known Marxist jibes. For those Randians who keep coming up on my blog: it’s not good to be worth less than scum.

In another interview, the same Sartre says, in such terms, I quote; “If the Communist hypothesis is not right, if it is not applicable, this means that humanity is not in itself something very different from ants or ferrets.”

What he is saying there is that if competition, free markets, the search for little jouissance and the walls that protect you from the desires of the weak are collectivified, the human being is not worth scum.

Alas, for those keeping track—still not as good as Gibbon, but serviceable. (Speaking of Gibbon, if you think this is esoteric, I happened to come across a few books last…

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Hegel is to Kant as Žižek is to Derrida?


For the first time, I’m teaching one of Žižek’s more philosophical works rather than his more or less strict political interventions, or a work like Violence. That meant that I finally am finding the time to take a page-by-page look at Adrian Johnston’s Žižek’s Ontology (Northwester UP 2008). I previously dived in for some skim and read several chapters, but a friend was kind enough to get me a non-library copy for my birthday (yes, Adrian, your book is now a birthday gift—and I guess we should also call it a good stocking stuffer as well for those planning ahead), so now I can write in it and so on.

As is well known, Kant is both the closest figure to Hegel and the one that he can never mention except in the most scathing terms—what Žižek (I think) discusses somewhere in terms of the Freudian logic of the…

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Psychoanalysis and the Unconscious


This may be a banal question for those who know the history of psychoanalysis well, but it would seem to me a helpful, if simple, pedagogical approach to testing out different figures is which Freud they read (duh–the point is coming). On the one hand, you have the Freudians of the Ich ohne Sinn, that is the Id as postulated as senseless, and therefore timeless, spaceless, etc. In short, you have the precursors to Kristeva’s semiotic. Then, on the other hand, there’s Zizek and Lacan, in which case, the unconscious is not without its superego, and therefore with an ordered structure. The reason I raise this is trying to answer students questions on how we move from a Freud who seems to ascribe such anarchy to the Id and then we get an approach in Zizek, for example, in which every pathology (and non-pathology for that matter) operates according to…

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Larval Two-Step


Larval is up with a post responding to the use of narratives in works of realism. This is great time to raise this question, since it’s come up in my SR class and after Harman, we turn to some of Levi’s work. For what it’s worth, I have other arguments that I would use regarding the question of language and I find Levi’s argument here (but not elsewhere) less than convincing. Correlationism isn’t using a two-step, but actually has a more complicated dance with reality. That doesn’t mean I agree, but one can’t just make correlationists into magical thinkers. Levi writes:

This two-step consists of 1) pointing out that x is a necessary condition for y (the signifier, narrative, signs, etc), and that therefore 2) there is no y (in the ontological sense), without x. Move 1 is perfectly legitimate. It’s move 2 where all the problems begin.

But of…

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