Article Title

Lacan and the Algorithm


Exploring the development of algorithms in Lacanian theory, specifically the "R schema" in the 1950s, I argue that psychoanalysis, read through contemporary debates about the "algorithmic cult" of Netflix and other avatars of popular culture, can be said to reveal the inhuman, machinic essence of subjectivity. The etiology of algorithms, mathemes, and other formulae and diagrams in Lacan’s oeuvre has been under-studied, in part because for some readers they are not as attractive as his more bravura flourishes of word play as exegetical excess, and in part because they derive largely from the ‘hard’ structuralist moment of his work in the 1950s, largely eclipsed in Lacan studies by interests in the ‘Late Lacan’ period of the Sinthome, the knots, jouissance and the semblant. Here I extend (and refine) arguments I began in Does the Internet Have An Unconscious, determining that algorithms in Lacanian theory help us understand the split subjectivity of internet discourse.