Lazy rascals, spending their substance, and more, in riotous living

Kant avec Masoch

I haven’t read Lacan’s article connecting Sade and Kant, but if I remember Žižek’s discussion of it, the connection is between Kant’s insistence that duty is more important than benevolence, and Sade’s dutiful pursuit of malevolence; as in this passage from the Critique of Practical Reason:

It is very beautiful to do good to human beings from love for them and from sympathetic benevolence, or to be just from love of order; but this is not yet the genuine moral maxim of our conduct, the maxim befitting our position among rational beings as human beings, when we presume with proud conceit, like volunteers, not to trouble ourselves about the thought of duty and, as independent of command, to want to do of our own pleasure what we think we need no command to do. (82)

I wonder, though, if the apparently shocking connection to Sade isn’t less illuminating than the more obvious connection to Masoch. This connection starts off absolutely straightforward, in Kant’s connection of duty to submission: Read more↴