On Histosophy (New Paper, Open Access)

Luis de Miranda  Emile Chabal, Global Intellectual History


In this essay, we sketch out a method, histosophy, which makes possible the study of intellectual history and conceptual genealogy both in depth and over long periods of time. Histosophy uses digital tools to survey ‘large issues within small compasses.’ A genealogy of signifiers, it considers metonymic parts of a problem in order to contribute precisely and coherently to a larger perspective. We outline the theoretical contours of our approach. We exemplify how it works in practice by looking at the signifier ‘esprit de corps’, the study of which is presented in detail in the histosophical book The Genealogy of Esprit de Corps (Edinburgh University Press, 2019). The phrase ‘esprit de corps’ has been widely used since the eighteenth century in different discourses (political, military, sociological, etc.), but it is sufficiently limited that its genealogy can be traced across centuries and nations with precision, coherence, clarity, and with the help of automated search engines. By contrast, related but bigger concepts like freedom, individualism or solidarity are part of dozens of disparate and fuzzy discourses, so often uttered that the analysis of modern uses is problematic. The histosophical methodology is applicable in six discrete stages, here outlined.

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Lacan and the Truth of Capitalism

lack philosophy


International Society of Psychoanalysis & Philosophy Conference

Stockholm May 2-4 2019

Luis de Miranda, Ph.D., Örebro University

Anna Cabak Rédei, Ph.D., Lund University


Lacan and The Truth of Capitalism


Analyses of social phenomena such as capitalism are often connected to Marx directly, but in order to question the “truth of capitalism”, we will benefit from reading Lacan’s elaboration on the discourse of the capitalist, and his echoing of Marx and Heidegger in the concepts of plus-de-jouir, jouissance, object a and the Thing.

In Peut-on jouir du capitalisme? Lacan avec Heidegger et Marx (Max Milo, 2008), an essay that Anna Redei will have translated into Swedish for the occasion of this conference, Luis de Miranda, who also practices a form of psychoanalytical philosophy as therapy for individuals in Stockholm, proposed a close reading of Lacan’s Seminar XVII (1969-1970), entitled The Other Side of Psychoanalysis (L’Envers de la psychanalyse), in order to unveil what is at stake behind the capitalist appearance of fun and what role a desire for an absolute plays in our current dominant economical system. In this talk, we will take advantage of the translation process, and the comparison between French and Swedish society familiar to both speakers, to reconsider the actuality of Lacan’s analyses in the context of the now digital state of capitalism, dominated by the paradigm of “predictive analytics” and the desire to anticipate the future considered as a more and more accessible object of desire. Effects of truth about the future abound in optimistic or catastrophic propaganda. Is the future the new object a of digital capitalism? How can we articulate an approach to the truth of capitalism when capitalism seems to constantly mutate? Or is the desire for mutation part of its truth?

In which signifiers does the truth of capitalism reveal itself? We will examine the discourse of capitalism in particular through analysing its semiotic manifestation in advertisement, with a few symptomatic examples.