By: Samir Dayal
Abstract: This special issue on Lacanian Perspectives, guest-edited by Jerry Aline Flieger, is focused on aspects of the work of Jacques Lacan, who famously elaborated on the nature of the Freudian Thing—la chose freudienne. Recently there has been a resurgent theoretical interest in ”things”—reflecting a variety of approaches ranging from a focus on everyday things in what Bill Brown has called “Thing Theory,” to what Quentin Meillasoux has sought to theorize as the primordial object in his conception of “speculative realism,” to Jane Bennett’s “vibrant matter,” to the emphasis on object-object relations in Graham Harman’s Object Oriented Ontology. The attention to things as such is not exactly new. In the Western canon, one could point to Heraclitus, Democritus, and Epicurus, not to mention Plato’s conceptualization of the ideal polis as a Republic (res publica or the public “thing”), through Lucretius’s De Rerum Natura, across the centuries through Baruch Spinoza’s influential conception of the natural world, to Immanuel Kant’s epistemological preoccupation with the problem of inability to apprehend the thing except through the a priori categories of space and time (which the thing itself may nevertheless evade). There is also G.W.F. Hegel’s philosophy of Nature and die Sache selbst, somehow the union of the subject (or Reason and self-consciousness) and the object (or Nature). The genealogy of thinking the thing extends into Martin Heidegger’s influential reflection on the thing, as well as to Hans Georg Gadamer, and in more contemporary times to Gilles Deleuze.