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"Socrates’s Mistake: Lacan on Love"


Dr Mari Ruti


Tuesday 24 July 2018 at 7 PM;

Parnell Community Centre                                                                                                                                                                     

This presentation outlines the ways in which Lacanian theorists—in this case Slavoj Žižek, Alain Badiou, and Todd McGowan—conceptualize the event of love (one of Badiou’s four truth events) as an experience in which transcendence meets with utter subjective derailment. In other words, Lacanian theorists recognize the traumatizing aspects of love even as they acknowledge its inspiring dimensions. While they shun romance as a capitalist plot that inducts the subject into a cycle of greedy commodification that extends to the desired other, they valorize love as the kind of rupture in the ordinary flow of life that forces the subject to reconfigure its entire existence. The talk also interprets Lacan’s seminar on transference (Seminar VIII), particularly the role of the agálmata—the gleaming gems—that Alcibiades locates in Socrates in Plato’s Symposium. 

Drawing on Lacan, Ruti argues that the fantasmatic nature of the agálmata does not preclude their “real” impact, that they are why Alcibiades’s desire for Socrates is nonnegotiable.


Mari Ruti is Distinguished Professor of Critical Theory and of Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Toronto, where she teaches contemporary theory, psychoanalysis, continental philosophy, and feminist and queer theory. She is the author of twelve books, most recently "Penis Envy and Other Bad Feelings: The Emotional Costs of Everyday Life" (2018) and "Distillations: Theory, Ethics, Affect" (2018).



Fees: $20; Students: $10; NZA CLA Members Free

Zoom Available


Please register by paying by electronic banking at 12-3066-0204464-00 and email Dr Gustavo Restivo at