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Isabel Millar

Research project: Extimacy: Sex-Bots Between Fantasy and Ontology


This project investigates the relationship between sex and knowledge and its manifestation in the development of Artificial Intelligence. With the concept of the extimate uncanny I analyse the status of the robotic companion as emblematic of the Lacanian non-existent sexual relation. I suggest this conceptual reading of the sex-bot is an essential starting point to a more complex understanding of the contemporary significance of Artificial Intelligence and sexualised automatons in the social bond. The figure of the sex-bot is understood to be the vanishing mediator which articulates the onto-epistemological nexus between psychoanalysis and philosophy.  As Lacanian psychoanalysis uniquely demonstrates, sex is not a contingent problem of civilization to be solved, rather it is the irreducible problem of ontology that underlies the very entrance into subjectivity. This is where psychoanalysis and philosophy unavoidably collide, where the logic of sex meets the logic of being and finds its uncanny doppelgänger; between fantasy and ontology.



I am a writer and PhD researcher with experience in television, higher education, screen writing, and human rights. I am also contributor and co-editor of Everyday Analysis.

Following my BA in Philosophy at the University of Sussex I worked as a TV presenter and producer in Spain. After which I returned to London to work in human rights activism and completed a Masters in Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck College, University of London alongside writing comedy and several screenplays. Between 2016-2017 I was the UK's first Secular Adviser in Higher Education, consulting on sensitive social, cultural and pastoral issues at the University of Westminster. 

I am now in my final year of doctoral study and preparing my thesis manuscript for publication.

Areas of research interest

  • Lacanian Psychoanalysis
  • Contemporary Philosophy
  • Cultural Theory
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Sexuality
  • Media and Film
  • Film Theory
  • Aesthetics


  • BA Philosophy: University of Sussex
  • MA Psychosocial Studies: Birkbeck College, University of London


Millar, I. (Forthcoming) "Before we even know what we are, we fear to lose it": The Missing Object of the Primal Scene. In C. Neill      (ed.) Bladerunner 2049: Some Lacanian Thoughts: London: Palgrave Macmillan

Millar, I. (2019) Kant avec Sade: A Ghost in the Shell? Vestigia Journal (2)1

Millar, I. (2019) The sexual relation does not exist, but does my sex-bot know? Journal of the Centre for Freudian  Analysis and Research

Millar, I. (2019) Ex-Machina: Sex, Knowledge and Artificial Intelligence. Psychoanalytische Perspectieven 36(4) : 447-467

Millar, I (2018) Black Mirror: From Lacan's lathouse to Miller's speaking body. Psychoanalytische Perspectieven 36(2): 187-205

Conference papers

The Laboratory for Lacanian Politics                                                                                                    2019

Guest speaker: Jacques Alain Miller's 'A Fantasy': Revisited

The Laboratory for Lacanian Politics                                                                                                   2018

Guest speaker: Baudrillard and The Ecstacy of Communication                                                                

The Laboratory for Lacanian Politics                                                                                                   2018

Guest speaker: Bodies, Networks and Borders: Jean Claude Milner's 'The Traps of The All'                      

Peer Reviewer - Journal for Cultural Research, Taylor and Francis                                                   2018

University of Ghent - Lacan Ecrits Conference                                                                                    2018

Algorhithmic Extimacy: Enjoyment and Artificial Intelligence

Kingston University - Doctoral Summer School Politics and the Unconscious                             2018

University of Essex - Society for European Philosophy Conference                                             2018

Enjoyments of the Alethosphere

Middlesex University - Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society Conference                                    2018

Enjoyment in the Age of Ordinary Psychosis

University of Ghent - Doctoral Workshop on Lacan's Seminar XX                                                       2017

On the Baroque

Winchester University: Society for European Philosophy Conference                                                   2017

Artificial Intelligence and the Sexual Compact

Middlesex University - Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society Conference                                          2017

The sexual relation does not exist, but does my Sex-Bot know?

Kingston University - Doctoral Summer School in Critical Humanities                                                 2017

Regents University - Society for European Philosophy Conference                                                     2016

Ordinary Psychosis and Contemporary Materialism

Kingston University - Humanities & Social Sciences Research Conference                                      2016   

Give Me Back My Name: The Subject of Ordinary Psychosis

Kingston University - Media & Communication Research Conference                                               2016

The Real and the Subject: Contemporary Lacanian Symptoms

Kingston University - CRMEP, LGS & HegelLab Conference                                                                 2016

Panel Chair: Hegel and the Concept of World History 

SOAS, University of London - Feminist Society                                                                                    2015

Guest speaker:  Women and Conflict Event

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