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Scott Wilson – Lars von Trier and the Fear of Philosophy

Event Date: 23 May 2013

Lecture Theatre E002, Granary Building,

Central Saint Martins,

London N1C 4AA

The Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy (CRMEP) and the London Graduate School in collaboration with Art and Philosophy at Central Saint Martins present:

Professor Scott Wilson (Kingston) – Lars von Trier and the Fear of Philosophy

‘Let us recognise the subject’s efficacy in the gnomon he erects, a gnomon that constantly indicates truth’s site to him.’ Lacan, Ecrits.

This is a paper about the creativity of fear in film and philosophy, focussing on Lars von Trier and Gilles Deleuze. The former is a film maker who has a long history of psychotherapy and psychoanalytic treatment for phobic anxiety which he has used both critically and creatively as material for his films. The latter, we discover from his biographer Francoise Dosse, had a phobia for both milk products and schizophrenics. In this paper, the understanding of phobia developed in the cinema of von Trier will be deployed in order to disclose the link between a fear of milk and the figure of the schizophrenic and offer a different way of understanding the dynamic genesis of Deleuze’s philosophy, particularly his logic of sense. Neither exactly a structure nor a symptom, phobia is a problematic category in psychoanalysis. Here, psychoanalytic, schizoanalytic and neuroscientific accounts of phobia are discussed by way of elaborating a ‘gnomonology’ that articulates a critical and clinical understanding of cultural production, particularly in its engagements with scientific discourse.

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