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Abstract

This thesis provides an intervention into the theoretical literature on the relationship between the work of the later Wittgenstein and the psychoanalytic tradition of thought, specifically looking to situate Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations in a more sustained conversation with the lectures and writings of Jacques Lacan. In doing so, it seeks to contribute to the scholarship in the philosophy of the social sciences by highlighting an under-theorized relation between two ostensibly highl different theorists. Departing from traditional considerations of Lacanian social and political theorists, who emphasize Lacan’s structuralist linguistic approach in relation to Wittgenstein’s early thought, it emphasizes Lacan’s anti-philosophical criticisms of traditional epistemology and his critique of positivism and scientism in social thought. This theoretical focal point brings Lacan into conversation with Wittgenstein’s anti-theoretical, anti-philosophical impulses in his later work. Through juxtaposing these thinkers in this way, this project seeks to reflect upon the relation between science, social science, and philosophy, and points to the broader implications this has for normative political theory.

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