Friday, May 28, 2010
Simon Critchley interviewed by Carl Cederström.
CC: When we’re already speaking of obscenity, let me ask you something about your relation to Lacanian psychoanalysis, a relation which seems to be rather ambiguous. In Infinitely Demanding you criticize Lacan and Lacanians for having distorted the picture of human finitude by making the subject too heroic, too authentic.

SC: Yes, my relation to Lacan is ambiguous. In Infinitely Demanding and Ethics, Politics and Subjectivity I claim that Lacan is heir to a tragic heroic paradigm that begins with German idealism. My main disagreement with Lacan, and the tragic paradigm as a whole, concerns a supposed link between heroism and authenticity. This comes particularly out of my critique of Heidegger. What Heidegger is up to in Being and Time – at least this is my understanding – is that you must choose your hero: either you choose das Man, the inauthentic life, or you choose yourself – the point being that you have to choose yourself as your hero in order to be authentic. So my main critique of Lacan boils down to a critique of linking authenticity with heroism, and I believe that argument has some plausibility.
I don't recall Heidegger discussing heroism except in terms of "he says"; e.g. Homer about Achilles, or Nietzsche. "You must choose your hero" sounds too subjectivist for B&T. I need to read the Schürmann and Critchely book on B&T one of these days. Later on, in Heidegger's quietist phase, heroism is a bad thing, an escape from reality. I expect now someone will dig up a paean to authentic heroism from his review of the "Horst Wessel Song".
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