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−   +  #redirect [[Borromean knot]] 
−  Borromean knot (noeud borromÈen) References to knots can be
 
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−  found in Lacan's work as early as the 1950s (e.g. E, 281), but it is not until the
 
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−  early 1970s that Lacan begins to examine knots from the point of view of their
 
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−  topological properties. The study of knot theory marks an important develop
 
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−  ment in Lacan'S TOPOLOGY; from the study of surfaces (the moebius strip, the
 
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−  torus, etc.) Lacan moves to the much more complex area of the topology of
 
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−  knots. Topology is increasingly seen as a radically nonmetaphorical way of
 
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−  exploring the symbolic order and its interactions with the real and the
 
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−  imaginary; rather than simply representing structure, topology is that struc
 
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−  ture. In this late period of his work, one kind of knot comes to interest Lacan
 
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−  more than any other: the Borromean knot.
 
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−  The Borromean knot (shown in Figure 1), so called because the figure is
 
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−  found on the coat of arms of the Borromeo family, is a group of three rings
 
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−  which are linked in such a way that if any one of them is severed, all three
 
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−  become separated (S20, 112). Strictly speaking, it would be more appropriate
 
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−  to refer to this figure as a chain rather than a knot, since it involves the
 
−  interconnection of several different threads, whereas a knot is formed by a
 
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−  single thread. Although a minimum of three threads or rings are required to
 
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−  form a Borromean chain, there is no maximum number; the chain may be
 
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−  extended indefinitely by adding further rings, while still preserving its
 
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−  Borromean quality (i.e. if any of the rings is cut, the whole chain falls apart).
 
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−  Lacan first takes up the Borromean knot in the seminar of 19723, but his
 
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−  most detailed discussion of the knot comes in the seminar of 19745. It is in
 
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−  this seminar that Lacan uses the Borromean knot as, among other things, a way
 
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−  of illustrating the interdependence of the three orders of the real, the symbolic
 
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−  and the imaginary, as a way of exploring what it is that these three orders have
 
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−  in common. Each ring represents one of the three orders, and thus certain
 
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−  elements can be located at intersections of these rings.
 
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−  In the seminar of 19756, Lacan goes on to describe psychosis as the
 
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−  unravelling of the Borromean knot, and proposes that in some cases this is
 
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−  prevented by the addition of a fourth ring, the SINTHOME, which holds the other
 
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−  three together.
 
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−  == References ==
 
−  <references/>
 
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−  [[Category:Lacan]]
 
−  [[Category:Terms]]
 
−  [[Category:Concepts]]
 
−  [[Category:Psychoanalysis]]
 