Wittgenstein and Lacan at the Limit

Meaning and Astonishment

  • Maria Balaska

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. Maria Balaska
    Pages 1-14
  3. Maria Balaska
    Pages 15-31
  4. Maria Balaska
    Pages 33-65
  5. Maria Balaska
    Pages 163-166
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 167-171

About this book


This book brings together the work of Ludwig Wittgenstein and Jacques Lacan around their treatments of ‘astonishment,’ an experience of being struck by something that appears to be extraordinarily significant. Both thinkers have a central interest in the dissatisfaction with meaning that these experiences generate when we attempt to articulate them, to bring language to bear on them. Maria Balaska argues that this frustration and difficulty with meaning reveals a more fundamental characteristic of our sense-making capacities –namely, their groundlessness. Instead of disappointment with language’s sense-making capacities, Balaska argues that Wittgenstein and Lacan can help us find in this revelation of meaning’s groundlessness an opportunity to acknowledge our own involvement in meaning, to creatively participate in it and thereby to enrich our forms of life with language.


Wittgenstein’s philosophy Philosophy of Emotions Lacanian Theory Psychoanalytic Theory theology logic Language

Authors and affiliations

  • Maria Balaska
    • 1
  1. 1.University of HertfordshireHertfordshireUK

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Religion and Philosophy
  • Print ISBN 978-3-030-16938-1
  • Online ISBN 978-3-030-16939-8
  • Buy this book on publisher's site