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Wyatt, Carolyn (2012)
Languages: English
Types: Unknown
This paper is meant to be a “bodying forth”—a bringing forward of the body in Jeremy Bentham’s written corpus, a body which materialized through the hand his dear friend, Dr. Southwood Smith, who, as instructed by Bentham, preserved Bentham’s dead body in the manner expressed in the “Annex” to Bentham’s Last Will and Testament, entitled “B: Auto-Icon.” What I would like to do today is to cross-read Bentham’s Last Will and Testament, and his last, very eccentric essay, “Auto-Icon or, Farther Uses of the Dead to the Living” (1832), with Bentham’s Theory of Fictions, the collection of essays spanning Bentham’s considerable writing career on this theme compiled by C.K. Ogden in 1932. Intersecting these texts will be several Lacanian texts, with some Roman Jakobson in the conversation as well. These three philosophers of linguistic subjectivity meet on page 12 of Jacques Lacan’s Ethics of Psychoanalysis Seminar held in 1959-1960 to debate the performativity of fiction, the elusivity of the Real, and the subjectivity which comes into Being in the relation between Fiction and the Real. They all recognize what Lacan calls the “fading” of the Subject (aphanisis), that is, a kind of deprivation of Being which comes from the Subject subsumed or eclipsed by signification, particularly, language.
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    • desire looks as if it had a final cause, or telos, as motion does in humans, but does not actually have one. In this sense of having no actual final cause but seeming to, animal movement is “to automaton”. (Aristotle, “De Motu Animalium,” trans. Terence Irwin and Gail Fine, Indianapolis and Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Co., Inc., 1995, 701a-701b)
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