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American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 78, Issue 3, Summer 2004

Conor Cunningham
Pages 445-479

Lacan, Philosophy’s Difference, and Creation from No-One

Using the work of Lacan but with reference to a number of other philosophers, this article argues eight main theses: first of all, that non-Platonic philosophical construction follows after a foundational destruction; second, that philosophy generally has a nothing outside its text, one that allows for the formation of that text—for example, Kant forms the text of phenomena only by way of the noumena; third, that this transcendental nothing renders all identities ideal, however that is conceived—an example being Badiou’s notion of “belonging,” one derived from the work of Georg Cantor and Paul Cohen; fourth, that a consequence of this ideality is mereological nihilism; fifth, due to this mereological nihilism any existent is only ever an aggregate, that is, an aggregate of some base element, or “stuff ”—a position that returns such philosophy to that of the ancients; sixth, this collapses idealism and materialism into each other, a collapse marked by what is referred to throughout as an impossible monism. Moreover, this impossible monism is a result of philosophy’s constant production of a bastard trinity—a dual monism, as it were. Seventh, that there are two models of difference evident in non-Platonic philosophy: the first is that of a block, with difference cut into it—like Swiss cheese, as it were—while the second is a flux which we seek to arrest with local regimes of stability. Eighth, and finally, that theology, in line with Plato, suggests the possibility of another difference, namely, a peaceable one.