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1. Urban, William John. Sexuated Topology and the Suspension of Meaning: A Non-Hermeneutical Phenomenological Approach to Textual Analysis.

Degree: PhD, Humanities, 2014, York University

This study assumes the subject's pursuit of meaning is generally incapacitating and should be suspended. It aims to demonstrate how such a suspension is theoretically accomplished by utilizing Lacan's formulae of sexuation integrated with his work in discourse theory and topology. Part I places this study into context by examining scholarship from the established fields of hermeneutics, phenomenology, (post)structuralism, aesthetic theory and psychoanalysis in order to extract out their respective theory of meaning. These theories reveal that an historical struggle with meaning has been underway since the Reformation and reaches near crisis proportions in the 20th century. On the one hand this crisis is mollified by the rise of Heideggerian-Gadamerian hermeneutical phenomenology which questions traditional epistemological approaches to the text using a new ontological conceptualization of meaning and a conscious rejection of methodology. On the other hand this crisis is exacerbated when the ubiquitous nature of meaning is itself challenged by (post)structuralism's discovery of the signifier which inscribes a limit to meaning, and by the domains of sense and nonsense newly opened up by aesthetic theory. These historical developments culminate in the field of psychoanalysis which most consequentially delimits a cause of meaning said to be closely linked to the core of subjectivity. Part II extends these findings by rigorously constructing out of the Lacanian sexuated formulae a decidedly non-hermeneutical phenomenological approach useful in demonstrating the sexual nature of meaning. Explicated in their static state by way of an account of their original derivation from the Aristotelian logical square, it is argued that these four formulae are relevant to basic concerns of textual theory inclusive of the hermeneutical circle of meaning. These formulae are then set into motion by integrating them with Lacan's four discourses to demonstrate the breakdown of meaning. Finally, the cuts and sutures of two-dimensional space that is topology as set down in L'étourdit are performed to confirm how the very field of meaning is ultimately suspended from a nonsensical singular point known in Lacanian psychoanalysis as objet a. The contention is that by occupying this point the subject frees himself from the debilitating grip of meaning. Advisors/Committee Members: Bailey, Steven (advisor).

Subjects/Keywords: Philosophy; Logic; Philosophy of science; Saussure; Christian Fierens; Formulae of sexuation; Sexuated formulae; Discourse Analysis; History of Linguistics; Philology; Psychoanalysis; Mathematics; Applied Mathematics; Geometry and Topology; Geometric Topology; Logic and Foundations of Mathematics; Modal Logic; Intuitionistic Logic; Set theory; Gender Studies; Diachronic Linguistics (or Historical Linguistics); Philosophy; Philosophy of Mind; Applied Philosophy; Medieval Philosophy; Kant; Philosophical Psychology; Logic; Critical Discourse Studies; Humanities; Sex and Gender; Women's Studies; Feminist Theory; Languages and Linguistics; Social Research Methods and Methodology; Art Theory; Research Methods and Methodology; Plato; Aristotle; Research Methodology; Structuralism (Literary Criticism); History of Mathematics; Low dimensional topology; General topology; Literature; Place and Identity; Philosophical Theology; Hermeneutics (Research Methodology); Set Theoretic Topology; Language and Gender; Space and Place; History of Psychoanalysis; Philosophy of Psychoanalysis; Temporal and Modal Logic; Textual Scholarship; Schleiermacher (Research Methodology); Ranciere; Literary Criticism; Nonsense; Feminist Philosophy; Textual Criticism; Theories of Meaning; Jean-Luc Nancy; Theoretical Psychology; Sex; Sexuality; Masculine Sexuality; Deconstruction; Gender and Sexuality; Phenomenological Psychology; Hermeneutics; Reformation History; Reformation Studies; Reformation Theology; Phenomenology; Wilhelm Dilthey; Philosophy of Art; Theological Hermeneutics; Theological Interpretation of Christian Scripture; Jurgen Habermas Lacan; Jungian psychology; Narrative and interpretation; Discourse; Continental Philosophy; History of Logic; Kant-studies; Subject of Experience; Algebraic Topology; Dream work; Contemporary French Philosophy; Gender; Sexual Selection; Gender Equality; Place Identity; Applied Linguistics; Literary Theory; Hegel; Kant's Practical Philosophy; Gilles Deleuze; Friedrich Nietzsche; Walter Benjamin; Jacques Lacan; Gaston Bachelard; Maurice Merleau-Ponty; Slavoj Žižek; Edmund Husserl; Martin Heidegger; Sigmund Freud; Jacques Rancière; Paul Ricoeur; Lacanian theory; Gender Discourse; Interpretive research methodology; Intertextuality; Hans-Georg Gadamer; Subjectivity (Identity Politics); Feminism; Psychoanalytic Philosophy; Critical Discourse Analysis; Algebra and Topology; Philosophical Logic; Interpretive Research (Research Methods); Deleuze; Theory of Space; Reformation and Post-Reformation; Meaning; Michel Foucault; Jacques Derrida; Theories of Gender and Transgender; Sense of Place; Language and Identity; Philosophy of Logic; Nietzsche; Schleiermacher (Philosophy); Schleiermacher; Subjectivity in Discourse; Theological exegesis; Georg Friedrich Wilhem Hegel; Emmanuel Kant; Julia Kristeva; Phenomenology of the body; Philosophy of Time; Gender and Sexuality Studies; Topology; Hermeneutic Phenomenology; Freud and Lacan; Structuralism/Post-Structuralism; Genders and Sexualities; Linguistics; Rereading and Intertextuality; Immanuel Kant; Baudrillard; Alain Badiou; Jean-Paul Sartre; Mathematical Modeling; Space And Place (Art); Psychoanalysis And Literature; Art and Interpretation; Early Heidegger; Mathematical Modelling; Legal interpretation; Ancient Philosophy; Psychoanalytic Theory of Art; Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis; Germanic Philology; Bertrand Russell; Mathematical Logic; Derridean Deconstruction; Jacques Ranciere; G.W.F. Hegel; Language; Heidegger; Aristotelian Logic; Linguistic Theory; Carl G. Jung; Text Linguistics; Constructions of femininity; Sexual Identity; Structuralism (Philosophy); History of Psychoanalysis (History); Theoretical Linguistics; Pure Mathematics; Text and Image; The Sublime; Freud and Feminist Psychoanalysis; History of Interpretation; Claude Lévi-Strauss; Singularity Theory; Philosophy of Sex; Plato and Platonism; Aristotle's Commentators; Interpretive Methods; Aristotle's underlying logic; Space and Time (Philosophy); Paul Ricoeur (in ) Philosophy; Aristotelianism; Benjamin; Walter; Husserl; Phenomenology (Research Methodology); Experiences of Place and Space; Translation and Interpretation; Feminist Research Methods; Zizek; Biblical interpretation; Managing subjectivity; Literary approaches to Biblical Studies; Philosophy of Language (Humanities); Dreams; Phenomenology of the Body (Philosophy); Phenomenology of Space and Place; Merleau-Ponty; Merleau-Ponty's Ontology; Platonism; Algebra & Algebraic topology; Phenomenology of temporality; Habermas; Textual criticism (Classics); Subjectivity Studies; Derrida; Badiou; Psychoanalytic Criticism; Psychoanalysis (Art History); Ricoeur; Feminist Literary Theory and Gender Studies; Feminism(s); Space; Rancière; Gottlob Frege; Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis; Gender identity; Discourse Analysis (Research Methodology); Textual Studies; Logical Paradox; Jacques Derrida & Deconstruction; Heidegger and critique of subjectivity; Jean Baudrillard; Construction of Meaning; Non-Classical Logic; Structural Analysis; Textual Criticism (Religion); Biblical Medieval Exegesis; Discourse Theory; Informal Logic; Roman ingarden; Early Edmund Husserl; Sexual Orientation; Textual criticism (Humanities); Sex and Sexuality; Sexuality Studies; Psychoanalysis and art; Psychoanalytic Theory; Literature and Psychoanalysis; Husserlian phenomenology; Hegel (Philosophy); Heidegger's being and time; Set Theory (Philosophy); Post-Structuralism; Meaning making; Jakobson; Roman; Hayden White; Biblical Exegesis; Žižek; Alienation; Sublime; Structuralism; Benjamin; Jean-François Lyotard; Philosophical Methodology; Identity; Lacanian psychoanalysis; Aesthetic theory; Plato and Aristotle; Francis Bacon (Painter); Gadamer; Ferdinand de Saussure; Place; Derrida and Deconstruction; Mathematic; Literary studies; Sartre; Sense-making; Phenomenology; Hermeneutics; Contemporary continental philosophy; Axiology (theories and applied research on values); Philosophical and cultural anthropology; Diversity management; Gender studies; Intercultural communication; Translations studies; Human Sexuality; Woman; Subjectivity; Research methods in applied linguistics; Woman Studies; Literary Research; Logical Paradoxes; Sexual difference theory; Singularity; Ancient Greek Philosophy; Aristotle; Deconstructionism; Subject Formation; Experience; Post-Freudian Psychoanalysis; Philosophical Foundations of Set Theory; Structuralism/Post-structuralism; Biblical Literature and Hermeneutics (esp. New Testament); Philosophical Hermeneutics; Dream analysis; Social Sciences and Humanities; Karl-Otto Apel; Phenomenology- Mind/Body Problems; Merleau-Ponty's Philosophical Thought; Phenomenology and Embodiment; Wolfgang Iser; Reformation; H. R. Jauss; Sex Difference; New testament exegesis; Philosophy of Language (esp. Wittgenstein, Rule-following, and the Normality of Meaning); Theoretical Philosophy; Mathematical Analysis; Literary Theory and Criticism; Discourse Studies; History of Exegesis; Post Structuralism; Philosophy of the Subject; Aesthetic Experience; Exegesis; Text Analysis; Textual Criticism; Old and New Testament; Jürgen Habermas; Surface; Method; Axiomatic Set Theory; Structuralism (philosophy of mathematics); Alenka Zupancic; Logical reasoning; Protestant Reformation; Wilhelm von Humboldt; Georges Poulet; Alain Badiou; Set theory; Philosophical use of mathematics; Psychoanalytical Criticism; Friedrich Schleiermacher; Bachelard; Rudolf Bultmann; Aesthetic; Humanities and Social Sciences; Research Method; Textual analysis; Carl Jung and Dreams; Hermes; Biblical Hermeneutics; Kristeva; Lyotard; Aristotle's philosophy of language; Johann Gustav Droysen; Singularity analysis; Freudian Literary Theory; Saussure; Language; Post-structuralism (especially the work of Jacques Derrida); Subject; Kantian Sublime; Kantian aesthetics; Phenomenology (Husserl, Merleau Ponty); Counter-Reformation; Hermes God; Singularities; M. Merleau-Ponty; Lacanian psychoanalysis; Psychoanalysis; Emilio Betti; Mathematical Model; Text as Image; Jean-Francois Lyotard,; Suspension; Deleuze Studies; Understanding; Interpretation; Hans-Georg Gadamar; Hermeneutic Philosophy; Hermeuetics; Gerhard Ebeling; Ingarden; Sexual Difference and Textuality; E.D.Hirsch; Szondi; Phenomenology; Post-Phenomenology; Philosophical Hermeneutics; Early Frankfurt School; Walter Benjamin; Marx; Western Marxism; Kant; Hegel; Nietzsche; Social and Political Philosophy; Philosophy; Literature; Humanities; Social Science; Zizek; Lacan; Psychoanalysis; Kant; Jaques Derrida; Meaninglessness; Zizek studies; Jungian Dream Analysis; Hegel's aesthetics; Dominick LaCapra; Manfred Frank; Hans Robert Jauss; Merleau Ponty; Jakobson; Hermeneutical Phenomenology; Contemporary Sublime; Interpretive Research; Lévi-Strauss; Post-structuralism; Problem of Experience; Psychoanalysis (Freud and Lacan); Bruce Fink; Chladenius; Critical-interpretive methodology; Aristotelian Philosophy; Exegetical; French Post-Structuralism; Post-structuralism; Objet Petit; Logical Thinking; Claude Levi Strauss; August Boeckh; Matthias Flacius Illyricus; Theory of Logical Opposition; Jacques-Alain Miller; Jaques Lacan; Levi Strauss; Francis Bacon's paintings; Logic of sense; Roman Jakobson; Exegetical Methodology; Bertrand Russell's Philosophy of Logic; Sexual difference; Freudian Psychoanalysis; Phenomenology; Husserl; Poulet; Hermeneutics; Theories of Interpretation; Russell's Paradox; Biblical Texts and Meaning Theory; W. Benjamin; History of Translation and Interpretation; Saussurean Signifier; Literary Nonsense; De Saussure; Phenomenological Philosophy; Husserl; Phenomenological and Hermeneutical Approaches to Religion; Phenomenology after Structuralism; Philosophy of Martin Heidegger; Jungian Psychoanalytic Dream Analysis; Sex and Gender based Analysis; Discourse Analysis (DA); Philosophy of Wilhelm Dilthey; History and Theory of Anthropology; Hermeneutics and Interpretive Anthropology; Aristotle’s Assumptions; Jacques Alain Miller; Aesthetic Judgement; Nonsense Inscriptions; Kristevan Abject and Inter-textuality; Foucauldian Theories; Iser Wolfgang; Jauss Hans Robert; M. Heidegger; Phenomenology; Heidegger; Phenomenological Hermeneutics (Esp. Heidegger); Metaphysics; Phenomenology; Heidegger; Identity and Subjectivity Issues; Theory of Sublime; Interpretive Argument; Continental Philosophy; Alain Badiou; Functions of Language; Jakobson; Linguistics; Peter Szondi; Ernst Kris; Foucault; Freud; Hermeneutics and Exegetical; Friedrich Ast; Richard Palmer; Demetrius Teigas; Roberto Harari; Monique David-Menard; Paul Verhaeghe; Guy Le Gaufey

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APA (6th Edition):

Urban, W. J. (2014). Sexuated Topology and the Suspension of Meaning: A Non-Hermeneutical Phenomenological Approach to Textual Analysis. (Doctoral Dissertation). York University. Retrieved from

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Urban, William John. “Sexuated Topology and the Suspension of Meaning: A Non-Hermeneutical Phenomenological Approach to Textual Analysis.” 2014. Doctoral Dissertation, York University. Accessed April 07, 2020.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Urban, William John. “Sexuated Topology and the Suspension of Meaning: A Non-Hermeneutical Phenomenological Approach to Textual Analysis.” 2014. Web. 07 Apr 2020.


Urban WJ. Sexuated Topology and the Suspension of Meaning: A Non-Hermeneutical Phenomenological Approach to Textual Analysis. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. York University; 2014. [cited 2020 Apr 07]. Available from:

Council of Science Editors:

Urban WJ. Sexuated Topology and the Suspension of Meaning: A Non-Hermeneutical Phenomenological Approach to Textual Analysis. [Doctoral Dissertation]. York University; 2014. Available from: