Kiki Smith
Ohne Titel

(Woman with Bird)

Cartel: Kant avec Sade


I’m interested in starting this cartel this summer and aiming for a year’s duration. The literature and schedule are very much malleable and are offered as a starting point. In keeping with LSP policy, the cartel is limited to five members; please email me, Rico Picone, at asap if you have interest!

Cartel description

This cartel is formed to explore Lacan’s imperative near the beginning of “Kant avec Sade,” which instructs as follows.

[… Kant says that] no intu­ition offers up a phenomenal object in the experience of the moral law.

I agree that this object slips away throughout the Critique [of Practical Reason]. But it can be surmised in the trace left by the implacable suite Kant provides to demon­strate its slipping away, from which the work derives an eroticism […]. This is why I will ask those of my readers who are still virgins with respect to the Critique, never having read it, to stop reading my text here and to return to it after perusing Kant’s. Let them see if it does, indeed, have the effect I say it does. In any case, I promise them the pleasure that is brought by the feat itself. (Écrits, Fink tr., p. 768, standard pagination)

However, one cannot simply begin with Kant’s “second” critique—it builds from the “first,” the Critique of Pure Reason. So, to read “Kant avec Sade,” we would do well to read it with Kant’s first two critiques, which this cartel proposes.

With the theoretical complexity of this program, supplementary texts are included in the literature list, some of which the cartel may choose to read together. They include, for background on psychoanalytic ethics and the pleasure and reality principles:

  • Freud’s “Beyond the Pleasure Principle” (SE Vol 18),

  • Chapter 7 of Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams (SE Vol 5),

  • Freud’s “Project for a Scientific Psychology” (SE Vol 1),

  • Lacan’s The Seminar Book VII The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, and

  • Bruce Fink’s paper “The Ethics of Psychoanalyis: a Lacanian Perspective.”

For philosophical context, especially for the first critique:

  • Chapter 11 of Copleston’s History of Philosophy, Vol 6.

For a recent synthesis of all these ideas,

  • Alenka Zupančič’s Ethics of the Real: Kant, Lacan.

LSP Cartels

The Lacan School of Psychoanalysis (LSP) includes, as a part of its training of scholars and analysts, study groups called cartels. The LSP defines a cartel as follows: the cartel is a group of three to five Students/Candidates/Scholars-in-Training who meet on a regular basis to work on a single topic of psychoanalytic interest. The group is periodically joined by an additional person or plus one (plus un) who serves to disperse the group effects and leadership structure. Cartels may be formed at any point in the academic year and usually disband after one year of work.

Organizer: Rico Picone
Date & time: TBD
Location: Online via Zoom, at; (password sent separately)

Fee: Free of charge
Contact: Rico Picone at
Note: see full details on the website
Or ask to join the Google Group (invitation required) at

Rico Picone, Ph.D. He is an Associate Professor at Saint Martin's University. His research in artificial intelligence has been informed by Lacanian psychoanalytic theory and is now turning to explicit engagement therewith. Lacanian topics of particular interest to him include the unconscious as cybernetic, models of human subjectivity, logic, topologies, and ethics.