- The background to this paper is my own subjective experience of a mid-career move from pure mathematics to interdisciplinary work in social science and cultural studies. In areas like sociology or evolutionary anthropology I found mathematics often to be used in ways that from my viewpoint were illegitimate, such as to make a point that would better be made with only simple logic, or to uncritically take properties of a mathematical model to be properties of the real world, or to include mathematics to make a paper look more impressive.
- Ever since Gödel showed that there does not exist a proof of the consistency of Peano’s arithmetic that is formalizable within this theory (1931), political scientists had the means for understanding why it was necessary to mummify Lenin and display him to the 'accidental' comrades in a mausoleum, at the Centre of the National Community
- Personally, I will begin with what is articulated in the sigla S(ø) by being first of all a signifier [...]
And since the battery of signifiers, as such, is by that very fact complete, this signifier can only be a line [trait] that is drawn from its circle without being able to be counted part of it. It can be symbolized by the inherence of a (-1) in the whole set of signifiers.
As such as it is inexpressible, but its operation is not inexpressible, for it is that which is produced whenever a proper noun is spoken. Its statement equals its signification.
Thus, by calculating that signification according to the algebraic method used here, namely:
|---------------- = s (the statement)|
- Here Lacan can only be pulling the reader's leg. Even if his 'algebra' had a meaning, the 'signifier', 'signified' and 'statement' that appear within it are obviously not numbers, and his horizontal bar (an arbitrarily chosen symbol) does not denote the division of two numbers. Therefore, his 'calculations' are pure fantasies.