The enigma of masochism which renders impossible a limit between good and evil, pain and pleasure, or even life and death pushes philosophical thinking towards questions that cannot grasp any kind of response, challenging the structure of meaning that ethics affirms. Criticizing both Foucault’s and Deleuze and Guattari’s ethics of sexuality and taking the work of Lacan – in particular his notion of the Real – as the basis for an analysis of masochism, Nicolini investigates moments of “negativity” in order (through a psychoanalytic perspective) to bring to light the significance of ‘perversion’ for philosophical thought and, on the other, to lead to a better comprehension of the division which – through characterizing the subject as subject of meaning as much as a subject of drives – jeopardizes ethics itself.

Andrea Nicolini is Assistant Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Florence.