Student protests in 1971, Slovene equivalent of May 68.

Program & Speakers Travel

There will be two sessions per day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. For each session one of the lecturers will prepare an extensive lecture with plenty of time for discussion.

Monday, 26.8.
Tuesday, 27.8.
Wednesday, 28.8.
Thursday, 29.8.
Friday, 30.8.

Morning coffee
Slavoj Žižek
Mladen Dolar
Alenka Zupančič Slavoj Žižek Mladen Dolar
Afternoon coffee
Alenka Zupančič Slavoj Žižek Mladen Dolar Alenka Zupančič Concluding plenary session with all three lecturers

All three lecturers will present their latest and newest work. The working language will be English.

Slavoj Žižek

The lectures will as their entry point take Neuralink, an American neuro-technological company, founded by Elon Musk and eight others, dedicated to developing a mind-machine interface (MMI). Thus first, when our brain is connected to digital machines, we would be able to cause things to happen in reality just by thinking about them (I direct my thought at the TV screen, and the selected program starts to play, etc.); then, my brain could be directly connected to another brain, so my thoughts would be shared by another individual (I daydream about an intense sexual experience, and another individual could directly share my experience)… Whatever the (dubious, for the time being) scientific status of this idea, it is clear that its realization would affect the basic features of humans as thinking/speaking beings. But how? To indicate an answer, we will turn to a philosopher who had no idea about Neuralink: Hegel.  The lectures will address three aspects:
  1. the idea of Neuralink, its philosophical presuppositions and implications;
  2. the unconscious as the dimension which eludes Neuralink;
  3. Hegel with Neuralink: are we still human when we are immersed into digital Singularity?

Suggested reading
  • Slavoj Žižek, Like a Thief in Broad Daylight (Penguin 2019)
  • G. W. F. Hegel, The Phenomenology of Spirit (several translations)

Alenka Zupančič

The lectures will as their starting and focal point take the concept of the Real that emerged in psychoanalytic theory (Freud, Lacan). Unassimilable to the notions of reality, being, or truth, with which it is often confused, this singular concept above all refers to an impasse, impossibility, hindrance inherent to the symbolic structures, without being symbolic itself. Exploring several key features of this concept of the Real, the lectures will attempt to specify what kind of ‘realism’ (and what kind of opposition to ‘nominalism’) follows from it in the context of contemporary philosophical debates. We will attempt to do so through a series of analyses of concrete phenomena pertaining to different, albeit related ‘fields’: politics, ethics, art, sexuality. The focus will also be on ‘passions’ (affects) that appear and circulate as correlates of this real, its signals.

Suggested reading
  • Sigmund Freud, “Civilization and its Discontents” (many editions, SE, vol. XXI)
  • Sigmund Freud, “Negation” (SE, vol. XIX)  
  • Jacques Lacan, The Ethics of Psychoanalysis (Routledge 1992), chapters II, IV, V, IX, X, XIV.
  • Clément Rosset, The Real and its Double (Seagull Books 2012)
  • Paolo Virno, Déjà vu and the end of history (Verso 2015)
  • Alenka Zupančič, What is sex? (MIT 2017), pp.73-84 ('Realism in psychoanalysis')

Mladen Dolar

A quick diagnosis of our times can be summed up by the decline of what in psychoanalysis is called the big Other. The traditional authorities have lost their sway, there has been a stark decline of the paternal function in the last century; traditional institutions have lost their authority; laws and the moral precepts have become negotiable; the transcendental guarantees have met their demise; the public domain has shrunk. The old type  of Masters has increasingly been supplanted by a new type of obscene populist leaders. The big Other, the supposed backbone of the symbolic order, seems to be in big trouble. Still, this wide-spread diagnosis, which can take very different shapes, is too quick and misleading. The lectures will attempt to explore the psychoanalytic notion of the big Other, given the paradox that on the one hand it is absolutely necessary and on the other, according to Lacan, it is lacking – how can it be both at the same time? The problem of contemporary authority will be singled out against the background of Hegelʼs classical takes and then by e. g. Max Weber and Hannah Arendt; the problem of rumors, of what can be called the present rumorization of the social, will be considered in its relation to the sturdiness and the fickleness of the Other; the problem of the Other in the time of social media; furthermore, the problem of irony, being one of the key contemporary attitudes, in its relation to negativity and the status of negation.

Suggested reading
  • Samuel Beckett, Worstward Ho (Grove Press 1983, a number of editions)
  • Jacques Lacan, The other side of psychoanalysis (Norton 2007)
  • Hannah Arendt, “What is authority?” (in Between past and future, Penguin 2006, many editions)
  • Paolo Virno, An essay on negation (Seagull Books 2018)
  • Richard Bernstein, Ironic life (Polity Press 2016)
  • G. W. F. Hegel, “The master-slave dialectic” (the chapter in the Phenomenology of Spirit, many editions)

Mladen Dolar is Professor and Senior Researcher at the Department of Philosophy, University of Ljubljana. His principal areas of research are psychoanalysis, modern French philosophy, German idealism and art theory. He is also Professor at the European Graduate School in Switzerland. He has lectured extensively at universities in the United States and across Europe and he is the author of over hundred and fifty papers in scholarly journals and collective volumes. Apart from twelve books in Slovene, his book publications include most notably A Voice and Nothing More (MIT 2006, translated into six languages) and Opera’s Second Death (with Slavoj Žižek, Routledge 2001, also translated into several languages). His new book The Riskiest Moment is forthcoming with Duke University Press.

Foto: Delo

Alenka Zupančič is a Slovene philosopher and psychoanalytic social theorist.  She works as Senior Researcher at the Institute of Philosophy, Scientific Research Center of the Slovene Academy of Sciences. She is also Professor at the European Graduate School in Switzerland, and at the Graduate School ZRC SAZU (Ljubljana). She is the author of numerous articles and books on psychoanalysis and philosophy, including What is Sex? (MIT Press 2017), The Odd One In: On Comedy (MIT Press 2008), The Shortest Shadow: Nietzsche’s Philosophy of the Two (MIT Press 2003) and Ethics of the Real: Kant and Lacan (Verso 2000). Her books have been translated into many languages.

Foto: Mladina

Slavoj Žižek is a Hegelian philosopher and psychoanalytic social theorist. He is Senior Researcher at the Department of Philosophy, University of Ljubljana; Professor at the School of Law, Birkbeck, University of London; Distinguished Scholar at the Kyung Hee University, Seoul; and Visiting Professor at the German Department, New York University. His field of work comprises psychoanalytic theory, dialectical-materialist interpretations of German Idealism and Marxist critique of ideology. His more than thirty books in English have been widely translated. His latest publications include Like a Thief in Broad Daylight (Penguin/Allen 2018), Reading Marx (with Agon Hamza and Frank Ruda, Polity 2018), Incontinence of the Void (MIT Press 2017), and Lenin 2017 (Verso 2017).

Foto: Siol