Academy for the Study of the Psychoanalytic Arts

HEGEL, KOJÈVE AND LACAN THE METAMORPHOSES OF DIALECTICS PART I: HEGEL'S PHENOMENOLOGY OF SPIRIT AND ITS KOJÈVIAN
INTERPRETATION AS A POINT OF REFERENCE FOR THE PSYCHOANALYTIC THEORY OF JACQUES LACAN

Radostin Kaloianov

INTRODUCTION
A thesis examining the relationship between Hegel's dialectics and Lacan's psychoanalysis can hardly be introduced to the reader without first addressing at least one question. What is the task of such an undertaking? What does it aim at? The relationship between Hegel's dialectics and Lacan's theory might seem to be something almost unthinkable. What can a philosopher of spirit and a psychoanalyst have in common? The differences between them outnumber and overshadow the identities. However, we are not interested simply in the differences between Hegel and Lacan. Our central theme is the metamorphoses of Hegel's dialectics in Lacan's psychoanalysis. The relevance of such a theme will become clear in the thesis itself, where we will present Lacan's various references to Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit and will analyze the reversals of the Hegelian dialectical figures. In a study like this one, there is always a temptation to favour one of the authors, with whom we will be dealing. It could be natural that Hegel be our favourite in a study examining the metamorphoses of Hegel's dialectics. In spite of this we are not going to treat him, nor Kojève, nor Lacan as an authority in respect to dialectics. We are interested in two things: a) to present the numerous references to Hegel's dialectics in Lacan's theory; b) to explain the transformations they undergo in it. The accomplishment of this task requires an interpretation of the idea of the Hegelian Phenomenology and an explication of the Kojèvian reformulation of that idea. In a separate study on Hegel and

Lacan we are tracing out Lacan's references to Hegel's dialectics. Our final statements bring out the reasons for the metamorphoses of Hegel's dialectics in Lacan's theory. In other words, if the numerous references to dialectics in Lacan's writings reduce this term to an empty word or, to use the Mallarmeanian/Lacanian metaphor, turn it into a "worn coin", our task is to restore the original imprint of this coin and to restitute its original value. This is the only way for us to understand how this worn coin can still be in exchange and what is its possible value in contemporary psychoanalysis. Our task is to uncover the meaning of dialectics in Lacan's psychoanalytical theory. As far as our method is concerned, we have to say that it is a combination of a diachronical and synchronical presentation of the views of Hegel, Kojève and Lacan. We have deliberately laid the emphasis on the individual thinkers rather than on the intellectual context to which they belong, just because this thesis is only an initial formulation and not a comprehensive overview of the problem it deals with. 1. THE PHENOMENOLOGY OF SPIRIT Though not the only one, the Phenomenology of Spirit is the first and, according to some Hegelians (W.Kaufmann) one of the most important "systematic" works of G.W.F.Hegel. It lays down the main perspectives (methodological and thematic), which led Hegel to a complete and comprehensive system of philosophy. It also formulates some major problems and even some of the paradoxes in Hegel's thought, and as their initial positing is even much more ingenious and meaningful than their later "solutions”. We are interested, however, not so much in the specific place, the Phenomenology occupies in the Hegelian system, though we will have to come back to this problem in the course of our argumentation. Our main concern, here, is the significance of the Phenomenology of Spirit for the theory of psychoanalysis (primarily for Lacan's psychoanalytical theory). We will concentrate our research efforts on some basic structures, elements and aspects of the Phenomenology relevant to our present task. There are many interpretations of Hegel's Phenomenology, which provide us with numerous insights to its possible correlation with psychoanalysis. We will enlist some of them briefly before we present our own approach to the problem. First of all, we will mention the short article of J. Hyppolite: Anmerkungen zur Vorrede der Phänomenologie des Geistes und zum Thema: das Absolute ist Subjekt (Fulda, 73). Hyppolite introduces an important methodological distinction between the systematic and the asystematic structure of the Phenomenology. He argues that the Hegelian phenomenological thinking
"das systematisch sein will, gleichzeitig offen ist, offen nicht aus Zufall oder menschlichen Inkonsequenz, sondern seinem Wesen nach" (Fulda, 73, p. 46).

The spirit does not simply come back to itself as an in-and-for-itself; it does this only by means of its own deviations from itself; it closes up a circle of deviations (self-alienations). This is, in fact, the peculiarity of the movement of the spirit, conceived of phenomenologically. This peculiarity of the phenomenological systematicity reveals its

openness and the autonomy of all of its elements. It is probably due to the fact that the formations of the Phenomenology (more than anywhere else in Hegel's works) live their own life , that they are very easily extrapolated out of the phenomenological context, are forced to have a separate existence and are transformed into theoretical, cultural or even political symbols (like the master-slave relationship). It is not for nothing, that most of the non-Hegelians discuss Hegel's philosophy with a view to the Phenomenology of Spirit, which is not only the entrance but also the exit out of Hegel's philosophy. Thus the systematicity - asystematicity distinction, drawn by Hyppolite, prepares us to anticipate that the point of contact between Hegel and his psychoanalyzing readers is situated in the Phenomenology of Spirit. Academy for the Study of the Psychoanalytic Arts
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HEGEL, KOJÈVE AND LACAN - THE METAMORPHOSES OF DIALECTICS - PART II: HEGEL AND LACAN
Radostin Kaloianov
1. THE POINT OF CONTACT BETWEEN HEGEL AND LACAN: THE DIALECTICAL DYNAMICS OF THE SUBJECT. *"(...) the letter killeth while the spirit giveth life" (Lacan, 1977a, p. 158) ** I think that in saying Lacan against Hegel, you are much closer to the truth (...)"(Lacan, 1977b, p. 215) It would be incorrect to speak about a point of contact between Hegel and Lacan. One would in vain look after such a point. Its absence can be explained only by the presence of a mediating interpretation. Alexandre Kojève transmits to Lacan, in a considerably modified form, Hegel's views on dialectics in the Phenomenology of Spirit. The result of this transmission is that it institutes the notion of negativity as differentia specifica of Hegel's dialectic. It equates negativity with its manifestations in man. It reduces the Hegelian dialectic to the phenomena of desire, struggle, labor, speech and death. Kojève's lectures imply that the only dialectical formation in Hegel's philosophy and particularly in his Phenomenology of Spirit is the human subject ("a nothingness that 'nihilates' in being"). This "anthropological" presumption is the guideline of the Kojèvian interpretation of Hegel, and becomes easily adoptable in various human sciences and philosophical traditions: sociology, psychoanalysis, marxism, existentialism. It can be hardly surprising, then, that Jacques Lacan readily applies some of the results of this "anthropological" and negativistic interpretation of Hegel. Lacan qualifies as dialectical all acts and relations in the psychoanalytic field, which are or simply resemble those modes of human negativity postulated by Kojève. The desire for recognition, the struggle for prestige, the master-slave relationship, speech and death are the elements of Lacan's dialectical code. These help him ascertain and clarify the meaning of almost all major concepts concerning the subject matter of his psychoanalysis: the mirror-stage, the Imaginary, the Symbolic, the Oedipus complex, the formation and the manifestation of the unconscious, the psychoanalytical treatment, etc..1 It turns out that the

A subject. p. A subject. Lacan. he suggests man's openness to future positings. and since this functional aspect is manifested in the modes of negativity. and that was how he ended up stumbling onto the problem of death and finitude. While the dialectic of negativity for Kojève manifests Man's freedom. p. according to Kojève. as an empty space which is supposed to be filled in by the signifiers of the signifying chain. is the splitting of a certain unity . which perfectly accords with the analogous effects of linguistics and structural anthropology. 12). the elements of which exist and relate to one another predominantly in synchrony. as they do for Kojève. There is an essential difference between Kojève and Lacan. suspends his identity and the very possibility for him to have an identity. it is hardly surprising that Lacan focuses his attention on the hollow space. Lacan eliminates the human subject as the only positive reality in the dialectic of negativity. It is rather anti-Kojèvian. It leads immediately to a higher synthesis of the separated elements. 1977b. Lacan not only describes various psychoanalytical problems in terms of the Kojèvian modes of functional negativity (as desire for recognition. but to the order of images and symbols. labor. performs a radical reversal in respect to the subject of this negative dialectic. So. which is of interest for Lacan. There are also other influences on Lacan alongside Kojève's: linguistics and structural anthropology. Negation. 207). He defines the subject as a void. which designates metaphorically that the human subject is always something more than its objectifications). for it is Kojève who related the dialectic of negativity to man. he emphasizes man's nature as an "act". This breaking apart has a positive outcome for Kojève. That is how the Kojèvian reinterpretation of Hegel contributes to the Lacanian conception of the subject as a void. . The effect of the signifier is exercised by "the function of the cut" (Lacan. Lacan does not refer to man as a historical being. Kojève proposed a ‘humanist’ and ‘anthropological’ interpretation of Hegel in his course.Kojèvian modes of human negativity exhaust the whole register of negations inherent to the subject of Lacan's psychoanalysis. "Indeed. is the subject of speech. in the narrowest meaning of the term. on the gap between the elements split up by a negation. 300). Lacan's conception of the subject is polyvalent. 206). We have to correct slightly this remark. he implies man's ability to create himself in the future other than he is in the present. Since the functional has a priority. He studies man as a mental entity. p. Lacan pulls the moderately negative dialectic of Kojève down to its limit. which rather quickly swerved into a virulent anti-Hegelianism (and antihumanism)" (Jacobsen. Correspondingly. dragging his most eminent listeners into a sort of strange Hegelianism of pure negativity.the unity of the self or the unity of its world. 1977a. he also promotes a substantive negativity. Negation and negativity are the characteristics of dialectics. struggle. The immediate effect of Kojève's negativistic interpretation of Hegel is that it suggests the primacy of the function over the elements it acts upon. There is even a more profound difference between the Kojèvian interpretation of Hegel and its use by Lacan. The Lacanian reversal is anti-humanist but not antiHegelian. Though in a downgrade position the positive aspects of Hegel's dialectic are still at hand in Kojève's interpretation. speech and death). as a "Being of non-being" (Lacan. the "same" dialectic for Lacan annihilates man. however. which can be better expressed by the term "nothingness" (but not the Kojèvian "nothingness". the human subject as "a nothingness that 'nihilates' in being". These elements and the negations which constitute them do not belong to reality. when Kojève defines man. yet we can distinguish two dominant meanings of the term "subject". is the subject of desire. 1991. individuality and historicity. 1977b. in the widest meaning of the term. p. Lacan does not employ literally the Hegelian figures of negativity but readapts them to the field of psychoanalysis.the finitude of man.2 We can not say that Lacan's anti-humanist reformulation of Hegel's dialectic is a direct consequence of its humanist interpretation by Kojève. The subject of speech: "is defined as the effect of the signifier" (Lacan. and it is Lacan who transgresses its only limit .

The figures of dialectics in Lacan's psychoanalytical theory. was nothing. 81). Consequently it is justified for Lacan to conclude that: "The subject is an apparatus. solidifies into a signifier" (Lacan. of this reflecting reflection. it is quite obvious that the five modes of negativity. however.. It is this limit which is the point of contact and at the same time the point of separation between Lacan and Hegel (and Kojève). 126). He is now 'something other' than himself. In fact. 3 Thus. forcefulness and above all disjunctivity (the emptiness of the subject) are the indices of (the Hegelian) dialectic. a void.to the emptiness of the subject. 90). the process of this meditation.. extend their function in Lacan's psychoanalysis to being the principles of the divisions or the splittings. 1977b. constitutive of the subject as a void. to its very limit . but mainly in the introduction of something quite new and nonHegelian. We have to note that identification and the desire for recognition have an indisputable priority over possession. And that is already a paradox (certainly not the only one in Lacan): something non-(or even anti-) Hegelian becomes an index of what is properly Hegelian. carries this tradition and the conception of the subject it gives birth to.1 The dialectic of identification. but the Cartesian subject. Lacan himself admits: "(..) of desire is not identical to himself. 80). which Lacan inflates into the nothingness of the subject. 1977b. Such a limit is the negativity of the subject.. who appears at the moment when doubt is recognized as certainty except that. p. qua lost object" (Lacan. for he does not belong to the Cartesian tradition any more (unlike Kojève).) nor even some incarnated logos. p. but rather result in an irrevocable disjunction and splitting of what they represent. postulates that: "(. p. 185). Lacan's conception of the subject. 1991. does not reside peacefully in the Cartesian tradition but rather.) from the fact of being born with the signifier. just before. To recapitulate..) I am not designating the living substratum needed by this phenomenon of the subject. with regard to their significance for the . The Lacanian reformulation of "the fundamental identity of the particular and the universal" in Hegel's philosophy.. being an analytical conception. recognized by Kojève as the principles of historical dialectics. It is precisely this limit. 2. 199). 1977b.. nor any sort of substance (. 4 Negativity. and it is in the lacuna that the subject establishes the function of a certain object. "When carried to the limit. The subject of desire is also a lacunary formation: "The self (. which Lacan unhesitatingly transgresses."(. as subject. THE DIALECTICAL DIMENSIONS OF THE SUBJECT'S EXPERIENCE. over need and the demand for love related to it.. goes so far as to reduce the subject apprehended by the Cartesian meditation to a power of annihilation" (Lacan. In other words the subject of desire is a lack. p. p. 1977a.) it is certainly psychoanalysis that provides it with its paradigm by revealing the structure in which that identity is realized as disjunctive of the subject" (Lacan. at the same time much more amenable to the certainty that eludes it" (Lacan. through my approach. 2. He is nothing or dead" (Jacobsen.. but which. This apparatus is something lacunary. The subject is this emergence which. but which can never be completely overcome. the bases of this subject prove to be wider but. the Lacanian reversal of Hegel's dialectic consists not only in the overestimation of the aspects of negativity and forcefulness in it. p. which is filled in by various images or signifiers.. the image or the signifier only sharpens the division of the subject... having scarcely appeared. 1977b. the subject is born divided. do not have a synthetic and creative outcome.) in the term subject (.

It is in effect as a desire for death that he affirms himself for others. imaginary or specular dialectic. in the symbol or in the imaginary" (Lacan. The gaze. This fragment presents the Imaginary as a fight of death and life.formation of the subject. through the agreement in speech or through the struggle for prestige. is the perfect "conductor" of desire. as a pure and direct discharge of the libido. There is still no order. This already brings us closer to the circularity and the dialectic of the Imaginary. The mirror-stage is the earliest and. which runs along the vector of identification. and no being is ever evoked by him except among the shadows of death" (Lacan. no limitations. either supporting its continuity or disrupting it. are also interpreted with view to the struggle for recognition. which on its turn is interpreted in a Kojèvian manner. The other main aspect of the imaginary identification concerns its dynamics. no reliable defenses. Lacan insistently recognizes in this dialectic the Hegelian struggle for recognition and its Kojèvian reinterpretation. The central articulation of the subject is based on the vector of identification. Lacan describes the main units of that articulation: the Real. a determinative manifestation of the desire for recognition 5. according to Lacan (and M. it is by fixing him solidly in the metamorphoses of his essential image. 105). The immediacy of the Imaginary is partly due to its specific "medium". This is why we choose to present the dialectic of the Imaginary and the Symbolic (and also of all the subsequent phenomena Lacan deals with) with regard to their identificatory dimensions. the Imaginary. though never entirely excluding the aspects of possession linked to these forms of individual existence. which represents the vector of possession. serves as an axis of the psychic development of the subject. and because it can satisfy desire as quickly as possible (through an imaginative objectification). This seems to be the most general feature of all the processes and relationships taking place at the level of the Imaginary.1 The dialectic of the imaginary identification. and the child-mother relationship. the imaginary or specular immediacy of which introduces the impossibility of its satisfaction. We can exemplify this Hegelian-Kojèvian matrix of Lacan's conception of the Imaginary by focusing our attention on its most clear and distinct version . a dynamics sustained by desire. because it does not have any resistance. therefore. a hollow space in the subject and between the subject and the external world. The mirror-stage is an episode in the development of the child and does not cover the . The gaze can play incessantly (and as Lacan assumes it plays at battle) with the imagos it generates. which in fact is the desire for recognition.1. which is the gaze. p. and what is primordial to the birth of the symbols. predominantly in terms of identification. p. The most essential trait of the imaginary identification is best expressed by the Hegelian term immediacy. 68). we find it in death. For the time being we will leave aside "this desire". "So when we want to attain in the subject what was before the serial articulations of speech. Lacan even elucidates the distinction between the Imaginary and the Symbolic by means of two of the figures of Hegel's Phenomenology : "But for this desire to be satisfied in man requires that it be recognized. The gaze can see imaginatively what the ego desires. 1977a. pre-genital.-Jackobsen). from which his existence takes on all the meaning it has. and the Symbolic. 1977a. The gaze also separates the desire from its object (a pole of identification). The two basic imaginary constellations: the mirror-stage. The only thing we will have to bear in mind is that this Hegelian reinterpretation of the sexual desire which already presupposes the anteriority of the Symbolic. there is not any complicated network of repressions. 2. if he identifies himself with the other.the mirror-stage. Thus the "struggle for prestige" (this is a strictly Kojèvian formulation) seems to be the sole representative of what Lacan sometimes ambiguously defines as a pre-Oedipal. no protective resistances. thus introducing a gap. B.

it ascends the perception of a fragmented body to the vision of a whole body. 1977a. The reflected jubilation of the child is a proof of its recognition by the other. The precipitation provided by the mirror has a dialectical function. The mirror transforms the immaturity (which is experienced) into a maturity (which is seen). that man's desire is a desire for the desire of the other. it makes real the unreal. in so far as it reduplicates desire (not only the ego but the other is also a desiring agent) and points to its real but unattainable object (the desire of the imaginary other).) the transformation that takes place in the subject when he assumes an image(... The mirror-stage identification is usually associated with the child's jubilation at his image in the mirror. 1977a. whose entire coming-into-being is thought of in terms of the dialectic of the struggle for recognition. As a first manifestation of the struggle for recognition the mirror-stage even represents for Lacan "an ontological structure of the human world that accords with" his reflections "on paranoiac knowledge" (Lacan. it enforces a sudden transfiguration. The mirror has a magic function. The mirror image of the child identifies and alienates the child.)" (Lacan. . The specificity of this other is that he jubilates while looking at the child.. this Gestalt (.. 4).whole field of the Imaginary. The child jubilates at its reflected image also because it has been recognized by the other whom it sees in the mirror. the "other") whose recognition makes the child so jubilant. 2).. This other is the miscognized ego (moi). The mirrored ego is simultaneously itself and someone else. only if man (or the object of his desire) is desired (and is therefore recognized as desirable) by the desire of another. This initial identificatory drama forms the anticipations of the child in respect to all possible imagined others. p. which captures the ego and makes it believe that it (the ego) is there (in the mirror). Lacan relates the jubilation of the child to the completeness of its mirror image.. p. The mirror introduces identificatory discord. p. 1977a. a micro-universe inhabited by paranoiac agents connected or disconnected through aggressivity or other manifestations of destructive force. It offers a recognition which appears to be a miscognition. 2).. The mirror experience of child arouses and sharpens its desire for recognition. This simultaneity of identification and alienation constitutes the prominent dialectical "impasse" of the Imaginary. There is also another aspect of the mirror spectacle which relates it to the struggle for recognition. "We have only to understand the mirror stage as an identification (. that is as "(. p. 2). according to Kojève and Lacan. the more jubilant becomes the one (the mirrored ego. The completeness of the image compensates for the "real specific prematurity of birth in man" (Lacan. "The mirror stage is a drama whose internal thrust is precipitated from insufficiency to anticipation." (Lacan. The mirrorstage provides the matrix of all subsequent imaginary identifications and represents their dialectical dynamics in its purest form. This statement informs us that Lacan thinks of the mirror-stage predominantly in terms of identification and that he also regards identification not as an innocent or harmless imitation of an other. but that he treats it as the process which forms the subject and which imprints its own "logic" on the subject. it negates what the child really is and constructs an imagined reality. Human desire may be satisfied. p. 4). it reshapes the infantile insufficiency into an imagined self-sufficiency of the ego. On the other hand. which Lacan also refers to as co-existent to the Symbolic. "Thus. Thus the actual self-recognition is imagined to be a recognition by an other. It institutes a gap between the imagined and the real (the real here is not the Lacanian Real). which in fact intensifies the struggle for recognition. The mirror-stage is the birth-place of desire. the mirror-stage generates a structure. at the same time as it prefigures its alienating destination" (Lacan. 1977a. This primal mirror experience shapes the circular structure of the imaginary identification: the more jubilant is the child. 1997a. These agents are the ego and its mirror doubles. the results of the mirror-stage justify completely the Kojèvian formula. The mirror-stage identification results in a very complicated constellation of self-referential and external relations of the subject..) symbolizes the mental permanence of the I. As a pattern of such a primitive ontology.)".

A false way out of this identificatory circle is the rivalry between the ego and its imagined other mediated by some object. The stakes of the imaginary struggle for recognition are "mastery" or "slavery" .. This basic assumption of Jacobsen could be criticized in another context. Jacobsen promotes this reinterpretation of the imaginary identification. and what I call the symbolic dominates the imaginary" (Lacan. Lacan very often presents various imaginary constellations in terms of the dialectic of master and slave.) it would not be through any recognition in a mirror (. The sole functional master-slave relation within the Imaginary (including the mirror-stage). a process in which the ego tries to escape or to cover up the nothingness of its desire. Lacan analyzes the mirror-stage and the imaginary identification with an alter ego. a desire to be oneself. The ego desires the desire of the other. Indeed.. "The imaginary gains its false reality (. to alienate itself incessantly.. it substitutes its own desire by the imagined desire of the imagined other. The satisfaction of the desire for recognition is impossible not only because the imagined other does not have any autonomous desire. He is nothing. p. The inappeasability of the desire for recognition is the last important aspect of the mirror-stage identification seen as a struggle for recognition. Since an imagined other can not have any desire at all. The Oedipal dialectic. The more it tries to find recognition. the imaginary embodiments of which. for Lacan. This stage provides the matrix of the subject's symbolic existence. He is now 'something other' than himself. the numerous metamorphoses of the image of the other can be viewed as attempts at selfobjectification and selfrecognition of the ego. is not the dialectic of the struggle for recognition.) is not any longer. do not constitute an order. and the analytic treatment. p. and without his recognition.) starting off from the order defined by the wall of language" (Lacan. the desire for his desire is in vain. Lacan insistently characterizes the Oedipus complex as a dialectical formation.. Borch-Jacobsen comments on this imaginary impasse of the mirror-stage: "If desire must be 'satisfied' [that is recognized] (. Thus the imaginary ego works (in order to please) for its invisible master (Death). only in so far as the ego's want-to-be allows him to be.. that is does not desire by himself. This already implies that the Imaginary does not precede the Symbolic. According to him. 1977a.1. but is rather determined latently by it. The latter urges it to objectify. which is not anything. Lacan thinks of it in terms of .. 1991.2 The dialectic of the symbolic identification.The ego can never imagine itself without the presence of the other. disputable whether it is justified to equate Death (as an Absolute Master) to the nothingness of desire. however. The ego (moi) is not an object. predetermines his symbolic interrelations with the others and finally constitutes the subject as a subject of speech. If the other desires what the ego desires then the latter's desire becomes desirable.. whom it expects to recognize it (the ego) as something. it miscognizes itself as an other and can never achieve what it expects. 244). which is "nothing". with view to the dialectic of the Hegelian struggle for recognition.. it expects to be desired by his desire.90). for it is above all the desire for recognition. to try to escape itself.) Simply because the desire to be recognized (. 2. p. Now we focus our attention on the Oedipal stage. 1988. On the other hand. but also because he does not have anything to desire or to recognize. is the relation to the Absolute Master (Death). but rather appear and disappear in the vicious circle of the Imaginary.. It can never be satisfied. the more it desires to be recognized. "In other words the pact is everywhere anterior to the violence before perpetuating it. These statements outline the missing element of the imaginary circle.. 308).) of desire is not identical to himself. however. the other comes-into-existence 6 only as an imaginary construct of the ego. however. is not completely objectifiable or recognizable. It remains. The imaginary ego mediates its relation to itself as nothingness (as pure drive or desire) by the creation of imaginary others." (Jacobsen. Consequently. The 'self' (. the more impossible it is to be recognized as desire. M. or dead.the paradigmatic roles of the symbolic order.

is not always successful.) for this desire itself to be satisfied in man requires that it be recognized. When we discuss the dialectic of the analytic treatment we will see how close it is to the Oedipal dialectic.. becomes the Name-of-the-Father. to a credulity to his word. but which nevertheless is the backbone of symbolic identification. 7 First of all. a) The Other has an ambivalent legislative function.. into an unimaginable (and even ineffable) function. 23). and in so far as the modern man is concerned. or better to say it reproduces an order. p. The identification with the Other is tantamount to a recognition of the Other as a master..the master-slave dialectic. We have to make it clear that the Oedipal stage does not suspend the imaginary identifications of the ego. The desire for recognition at the Oedipal and the post-Oedipal stage is not directed to the other (small "o") but to the Other (capital "O"). It reorders the main elements of the Imaginary: the ego. on the exemplary Oedipal identification.it affects the direction of the desire for recognition. Who is the Other? How does the Other come into existence? The Other is both an image (though an unimaginable one) and a function. it is more likely to be unsuccessful (on this issue. 1977a. 1977a.. The subject's desire of the desire of the Other is satisfied not by way of imaginary struggle but by way of the symbolic pact of recognition. Lacan usually presents the Other as a function (and rarely and ambiguously as an image). through the agreement in speech or through the struggle for recognition" (Lacan. The subject recognizes the Other as his master expecting to be recognized in return. p. it does this in accordance with the Hegelian (and Kojèvian) dialectical pattern . to an obedience to his order. however. 40). introducing the subject into it. rearranges the imaginary constellation of identifications. see Jacobsen. We shall leave aside the Oedipal failure and its various reasons. instead. the medium of recognition (the speech replaces the gaze). Lacan's reflections on the Oedipal stage illustrate better than anything else the relevance of Jacobsen's qualification of Lacan's theory: "a 'Freudian' rereading of Hegel" (Jacobsen. p. Finally. The failure of the Oedipal "normalization" is something which the analytic treatment tries to overcome and compensate. the alterego. As a super-ego he 8 prohibits. rather. the Mother and death. 1991. while as an egoideal he indicates the adequate objects of desire. This transition.) the Oedipal identification is that by which the subject transcends the aggressivity that is constitutive of the primary subjective identification" (Lacan. the Oedipal stage creates an order. 68) The transformation that takes place in the Oedipal drama is complex . The specular image of the other (small "o") now becomes something more than a mere appearance (the visible father. and imprinting this order on the subject (the testimony and the source of this process is the subject's speech). the Father. The Oedipal stage preserves or at least does not disrupt the continuity of the desire for recognition: " (. The Other institutes the order of the permissible and the impermissible. which represents the invisible Other). Let's focus. and. it is now transformed into a function representative of something invisible . It is a desire for the desire of the Other. As a source of the "symbolic law" the Other recognizes the subject by giving him a legal (symbolic) status in the symbolic order.namely of the Other. The subject on his turn has to work for his master. as Lacan suggests. It. The failure of the Oedipal identification is what distorts the symbolic objectification of the subject and what intensifies the tension between the Imaginary and the Symbolic as co-existent structures of the subject. we have to bear in mind that the Oedipal identification is a transition from an imaginary to a symbolic identification: " (. p. Lacan thinks of it entirely in terms of the Hegelian master-slave dialectic. 29). the referents of this desire. for instance. which is difficult to perform in the age of Modernity. The resolution of the Oedipal drama converts the image of the parent of the same sex. It restructures the Imaginary. with whom the subject is in an imaginary rivalry.the Hegelian dialectic of the master and the slave. His labor is his . and the results of the recognition (agreement instead of rivalry).

1991. which is both symbolic and an order): "Thus the symbol manifests itself first of all as the murder of the thing. Borch-Jacobsen tends to ascribe priority to this aspect of the function of the Other: "And so the 'dialectic of the Oedipal drama'. Anyway the dead master. which distinguishes the symbolic Other from the Hegelian master. p. He is first of all the symbolic Other. is subordinate to the absolute master (Death) just as the slave is (in fact death mediates the superiority of the master over the slave). the Lacanian symbolic master is identifiable with death (as a representation. was nothing but a defense intended to occult the undialecticizable 'fourth element' that is death" (Jacobsen. instituted by the Other. and is not a master of himself.. Through the Oedipal identification (if it is successful) the "ego differentiates itself. He has also an executive function. p.. We can add furthermore that it is exactly the specificity of the defense against death. 104). Its symbolic representatives or imaginary appearances are never complete. child-Father-others. 94). not as a function). since he is the absolute condition which makes a discourse possible. 1991. 94). usurps the function of death and becomes an absolute master: "(. the master mediates the subject's relations to the others. is felt by the subject as the disappearance (. with the Mother and the external objects. The Other protects him from the reality of the things. His representations and functions belong to the Symbolic (the Nameof-the-Father.speech. The Other is always dead. which already implies that the dead Master. and this death constitutes in the subject the eternalization of his desire" (Lacan. 94). the conscious). which is one of the most polyvalent symbols in the psychoanalytic myth about the Oedipus complex. to the things and to death. He enacts his legislation by means of signification. This splitting of the imaginary immediacy.. The symbolic Other is never completely imaginable or utterable. the subject is reduced to a mere tool of utterance of the discourse of the Other. This is a strictly psychoanalytical reversal of the Kojèvian idea of the negativity of death. from the aggressivity of the others. The protective function of the Other refers also to Death. and from the nothingness of death. which enforces the subject's obedience to the Other. 1977a. which is at the same time a normalization and a pacification of the subject's relationships with the others. 1958. as Kojève suggests. and who. the Other. Lacan's reflections on the dead master have various implications. . is achieved through the mediation of the Other (of the Symbolic order.) of that shield of intervention. the protective shield in various symbolic triads: child-Father-Mother. b) The Other is not only a legislator. Unlike the latter who is a master of a slave. the symbolic Other always transcends the Imaginary or the Symbolic of the individual subjects and performs its function as a transsubjective or even intersubjective agency of signification and symbolic power. one of the aspects of the executive function of the Other is mediation. in joint progress. M. Just like the Hegelian slave. The Other directs the discourse and the desire of the subject through the two most general mechanisms of signification: metaphor and metonymy. The Other. The Other is the mediating term.. quoted from Jacobsen. or substitution. 1984. child-speechthings. that the father [forms between the subject and] the Absolute Master . p. therefore. from the other and from the object" (Lacan.) the death of the father. and at the same time he threatens with death. The first is that the dead master does not belong to the Real or even to the Imaginary (he is scarcely visible or imaginable). whenever it occurs. with its classically triangular structure. p. The Lacanian Other is not so much a figure which represents a law but a locus of a certain (the symbolic) function. One of the performative effects of speech and. the "locus of speech".that is death" (Lacan. child-Other-death.

speech or death. the Other still retains his absolute mastery: "The Other as a previous site of the pure subject of the signifier holds the master position. The Symbolic institutes itself only at the expense of the . that holds the master position in the master-slave structure of the Symbolic order: "The concrete field of individual preservation is structured in this dialectic of master and slave. which interfere with each other by way of substitution. 149). The dead Father is the sacrifice as well as the addressee of this sacrifice. the Lacanian Other is (signifies) an absolute Master. It is an imagined or symbolic and forcible death. social or symbolic dialectic depends entirely on Him.that of Life and Death . p. repression or foreclosure. and which is extended over the still non-existent and over the already non-existent. Lacan concludes that: "the symbolic Father is. With view to all preceding reflections on the Other we can say that the Other is the all-encompassing agency (the Other is not entirely symbolic) of Death and Life (of symbolic Death and Life. Despite of its displacements and rejections.The death of the Other is neither real nor natural. and is often undistinguishable from the negativity of desire. "This image of the master. the Other rules and acts even where the Symbolic has been disrupted or rejected in the cases of neuroses and psychoses. This is why Lacan insists on an adequate interpretation of the place and the function of the Other in the numerous failures of the Oedipal identification.1977a.9 We have all good reasons to assume that the dialectic of the symbolic identification is centered around the negativity of the Other. then. The question is which is superior and in what way. We have seen in the preceding subsection that the Symbolic and the Imaginary are mutually exclusive. 1988. Lacan also regards them as co-existent components of the psyche. Both of the elements of the master-slave relationship are sources of negativity: the mastery of the master and the labor of the slave. but as a master whose power transgresses the limits of symbolic life. to use Hegel's term against him. order and structure of the Oedipal. becomes confused in him with the image of death" (Lacan. simply because unlike the Hegelian "real" or limited master. of the master institutes the symbolic debt of the subject to the dead master. While Kojève emphasizes the negativity of labor. even before coming into existence. in order to grasp the various revolts against Him that are implicit in most of the psychical disorders. p. 2.1. Following Freud's analyses on the genesis of the feeling of guilt.. to the Absolute Master) as: "(. p. 1977a. In other words. Lacan focuses on the negativity of the Other. The Other represents the most impossible of all syntheses . On the other hand the symbolic murder of the Father.which already defines him not only as a legislator of the living and speaking subjects.) the fruitful moment of debt through which the subject binds himself to the law". This negativity is imprinted on the subject of speech (the slave). There is no pure Symbolic and no pure Imaginary. which are the only modalities of life and death possibly accessible to humans). in so far as he signifies this law. p. We have analyzed the dialectic of the Oedipal identification only in regard to one of its elements: the master. the dead Father" (Lacan. 199). 305).3 The dialectic of the Imaginary and the Symbolic The Imaginary and the Symbolic are not only stages in the psychical maturation of the subject. 1977a. Moreover the priority of the synchronic over the diachronic perspective in Lacan's psychoanalysis implies that the co-existence of the Imaginary and the Symbolic is of primary importance for Lacan. Lacan defines the murder of the Father (and his sublimation to the Name-of-the-Father.. which is what he sees in the form of a specular image. as an absolute Master" (Lacan. in which we can recognize the symbolic emergence of the imaginary struggle to the death in which we earlier defined the essential structure of the ego: it is hardly surprising. that this field is reflected exclusively in this structure" (Lacan. 142). We have to know who the Other is. and the whole dynamics. and respectively enacts the absolute mastery of the Other over the indebted subject.

p. We can not examine such a great number of problems. she indicates that the accession of the subject to the Symbolic results in one of the subsequent splittings of the subject. must be called into symbolic opposition to the subject" (Lacan. 1977a. In Chapter VI. therefore. Psychosis is a state of "a-symbolization" (the symbol is considered to be a thing) and of oversymbolization (all things become meaningful). just as his desire is no more than represented there" (Lemaire. 1966). Their co-existence. Our first example comes out of Anika Lemaire's monography on Lacan (Lemaire. forcefulness and destructiveness. may find the homogeneity he strives after in his imaginary constructs. She also does not take into account the fact that the symbolic lack of identity has a normative value in Lacan's theory. The foreclosure of the Name-of-the-Father is precipitated by a crucial restructuring of the Oedipal triad: Father-child-Mother. In some way or another. that is to say. Our second example of a dialectic of the Imaginary and the Symbolic is taken from Lacan's conception of psychosis.) in discourse the subject experiences his lack of being. In psychosis. Apart from this it is not a partial repression of a chain of signifiers by an image (such is the case in our first example). has to take place predominantly in the modes of negativity. experienced in the Symbolic. The symbolic lack of being leads to an ever greater lack of being. most of the mental deviations psychoanalysis deals with are related to the dialectic of the Imaginary and the Symbolic. verworfen. quoted from Lacan. never having attained the place of the Other. 1991). which are the indices of the dialectical for Lacan. the Symbolic is converted into an Imaginary. 1982. p. 73). The subject of discourse will not be able to regain his true reality in the image. when the mother instead of being subordinate to the father.. instead of recognizing him as the Other. it does not change its content but its function. just because the return to the Imaginary will not be able to overcome the splitting of the subject. 1991. Psychosis is one of the possible reversals of what Lacan defines as a "phallocentric dialectic" (Mitchell. It is because it fends off this moment of lack that an image moves into position to support the whole worth of desire: projection.the foreclosure of the Name-of-theFather. does not draw a clear distinction between a healthy and pathogenic reaction to the symbolic lack of being.. It is a radical break through of the Imaginary into the Symbolic. It threatens the identity of the subject (better to say that it ruins this unity). p. the subject of discourse may try to reidentify himself with an image. "The drama of the subject in the verb is that he faces the test of his lack of being. fights against him. Lemaire. however. Such a restructuring takes place when the two parents fight against each other for the love of their child. 217). p. This is the splitting between the reality of the subject and its representation. 1991. 93).Imaginary. because the Imaginary is also an order of representations which makes impossible a direct access to the subject's being. The self is represented for itself by a set of signifiers: "(. "For psychosis to be triggered off. 72. Confronted with a symbolic lack of being. A splitting which lasts as long as the subject resides in the Symbolic. the Name-of-the-Father. and that its overcoming advances along the vector of metonymy in speech. The genesis of psychosis is associated with an event taking place at the Oedipal stage . as he is no more than represented in discourse. we shall illustrate this dialectic by two examples. it is a really dialectical substitution of the Symbolic by the Imaginary. a function of the Imaginary" (Lemaire. Therefore. The dialectics of this whole process consists in the fact that the symbolic alienation induces an even sharper imaginary alienation. foreclosed. In other words the foreclosure of the .

"Desire begins to take shape in the margin in which demand becomes separated from need" (Lacan. sets off the cascade of reshapings of the signifier from which the increasing disaster of the imaginary proceeds. in articulating the signifying chain. It appears that the satisfaction of needs depends on the satisfaction of demand. who believes the symbol to be something real. It is absolutely impossible to satisfy demand. which is a want-to-have one particular object or another (the source of pleasure). . brings to light the want-to-be. The impossibility to satisfy the child's demand for love results in an impossibility to have its needs satisfied. p. who provides their satisfaction for him.263). The Symbolic acquires an imaginary function for the psychotic. 2. p. It is almost impossible for us to reconstruct a coherent doctrine. The "delusional metaphor" Lacan refers to. which overlaps with the dialectic of the unconscious and the dialectic (the negativity) of speech. 1977a. which "constitutes the Other as already possessing the 'privilege' of satisfying needs" (Lacan. 286). It is possible to satisfy need. The important thing for us to know is that such a significant interrelation like the one between the Imaginary and the Symbolic is structured dialectically in the sense of reflecting the dialectical figures of the struggle for prestige and the master-slave relationship. There are certainly many others. We have examined just two of the manifestations of the dialectic of the Imaginary and the Symbolic. "Desire is that which is manifested in the interval that demand hollows within itself in as much as the subject. 286). the symbol can hardly be called a symbol any more. and needs can not be satisfied if demand is frustrated. together with the appeal to receive the complement from the Other" (Lacan. 1977a. and which is a want-to-have the Other (the Mother) or "that which the Other does not have. we shall try to examine the negativity of desire in respect to its emergence and unfolding. which enforces and maintains its permanent dissolution. 1977a. 311). p. The division between need and demand forms a vicious circle. on the dialectic of desire.2 The dialectic of desire Desire is the most important factor in the dynamics of the negativity of the subject. The child can not satisfy its thirst and hunger. 1977a. 2. The foreclosure of the Name-of-the-Father distorts the function of the Symbolic which is to mediate between the subject and the thing. nor by the object of demand. p. There is no longer a distinction between the symbol and the thing.1 The emergence of desire. to the point at which the level is reached at which signifier and signified are stabilized in the delusional metaphor" (Lacan. We can not view them all.2. 217). by the hole it opens up in the signified. p. in Lacan. unless it is sure of the love of the mother. The symbol is imagined to be the thing. Being dispossessed of its symbolic function. is precisely the substitution of the signifier by the signified (the symbol is assumed to be a thing).Name-of-the-Father presupposes a replacement of the master-slave relationship between the two parents by a struggle for recognition between them. its love" (Lacan. for demand can not be satisfied unless the satisfaction of need appears as a proof of the Mother's love. What follows is that the want-to-have can not be satisfied neither by the objects of need. namely. Nevertheless. "It is the lack of the Name-of-the-Father in that place which. The unappeasability of the want-to-have leaves plenty of room to the child's want-to-be to unfold 10. Desire emerges as a result of the sublation of need by demand. 1977a.

the phenomenon of their splitting (Spaltung)" (Lacan. desire can not really have any object at all."Thus desire is neither the appetite for satisfaction. According to us. p. There is a qualitative difference between demand and desire. It is not surprising at all that for Lacan desire operates mainly at the level of the unconscious. however. 1977a. At the same time it makes its satisfaction impossible because it does not strive after something (as desire does). not so much because of the negation (of need by demand) it comes from. as an order of representations. desire is deployed mainly in the Symbolic. is that it is directed to the representations (imaginary or symbolic) of what the want-tohave fails to achieve. to interpret the formulation "man's desire is the desire of the Other" in regards to the "how" of the Other's desire. Lacan's most prominent formula on desire is that "man's desire is the desire of the Other" (Lacan. In accordance with the Lacanian dialectical code. 2. oriented to various cultural or social. Lacan tries to articulate the questions posed by the desire of the Other in his article The subversion of the subject (Lacan. 1977a). We can not be sure what the "desire of the Other" is. The same holds for the desire of man. the emergence of desire may be viewed as a dialectical one. as an order of meaningful representations. and who can do so by perpetually negating himself in them. 199). It unfolds itself as a transindividual want-tobe.. accommodates most naturally the want-to-be of the subject. if desire is to remain what it is: the pure negativity of a subject who desires himself in his objects. . which is universal. It is exactly in this formula where we can grasp the meaning of what Lacan defines as a "dialectic of desire". p. which is superior.. but the difference that results from the substraction of the first from the second.2 The unfolding of desire The whole dialectic of desire spins around the overthrowing of every filling-in of the gap it is. speech cannot be desire because unlike desire it does not have a teleological structure. desire finds its expression in speech. and in any case supraindividual symbols or identifications. which explains the priority of the vector of identification over that of possession in Lacan's psychoanalysis. Speech does not share the finitude of desire. Thus the negativity of desire almost coincides with the negativity of speech in Lacan's theory. which is a supra-individual agency. which makes its satisfaction possible. Desire is not absorbed peacefully in speech but rather tries to escape it . 287). then. Speech. therefore. The impossibility of the want-to-have is replaced by the necessity of the want-to-be. Desire is: "(. as a representative of the want-to-be. p. It follows. 264). however. does not belong to a particular subject.. Respectively desire can never be an individual desire. This "revolt" of desire is another aspect of its dialectic.2. An essential advantage of the want-to-be over the want-to-have. 1991. 1977a. over the Imaginary.desire as a lack. 1977a. nor the demand for love. Speech. Desire maintains its gap-like structure in its unfolding in the Symbolic. Speech negates and posits the individuality and the identity of the individual. On the other hand. it is clear. 265). because speech. but because of the outcome of that negation .. p.possession (demand). "In the Lacanian doctrine. That is why.by means of speech. It is rather the individual who is subjected to speech in so far as it is represented in it. The Other is the locus of speech and that implies that its desire unfolds as speech. only mediates and alienates desire.) the mark of the iron of the signifier on the shoulder of the speaking subject" (Lacan.11 It is better. not so much because of their objects (they may have a common object like the Phallus) but because of their modes of reference to them . identification/recognition (desire). by negating them as what he is not (?)" (Jacobsen. that desire is trapped in the "defiles of the signifier".

of the annihilating signifier.. p. The sliding of speech never stops. Nevertheless. Speech offers the subject an infinitude of identifications all of which are centered around the symbolic Phallus. 45). 228) of the analytic treatment.1977a.c). "The only object that is within the analyst's reach is the imaginary relation that links him to the subject qua ego".metaphor and metonymy. p. speech reduces the subject who speaks to that which is inbetween two signifiers. however. the dialectic of the treatment is a polyvalent concept. a) Who takes part in the treatment? The analyst and the patient play the key roles in the treatment. the participants. it represents the prohibition to identify with it. The patient.. p. is interrelated with the dialectic of desire and probably with a possible dialectic of demand which is a manifestation of the want-to-have.1. but is confronted with its imaginary or symbolic reactualization in the process of the treatment.3 The dialectic of the analytic treatment The analytic cure is a multi-dimensional phenomenon. and respectively the insatiability of desire never diminishes. is represented as the slave (of more than one master). The dialectic of the treatment concerns the psychoanalytic conception of intersubjectivity. therefore. The reason for this is that the treatment does not involve anything real. 72). that the "phallocentric dialectic". which is a manifestation of the want-to-be. the task of the treatment. there are aspects common to all cases: the structure. it is a case. Metonymy ["man's desire is a metonymy" (Lacan. 1982. Respectively. According to Lacan. p. or as the "sole master" (Lacan. the barrier to its own satisfaction. They. 1977a. p. The analyst does not deal with the history of the patient conceived of as something real. it illustrates the power of the Other. precisely because the what-is-said is a function of a constantly increasing number of signifiers. Its particular meaning depends on the concrete function or aspect of the treatment that is being emphasized in one case or another. is based upon the negativity of speech. structures the unfolding of the subject's want-to-be. Through metonymy. of speech. Metaphor uncovers desire as a symptom. and which emerges as a result of their connection. 2. "The Phallus is the privileged signifier (. It can be said. This dialectic can be summarized by the paradoxical formulation: desire. are not the only participants in it. . The want-to-be of desire can not be satisfied by the what-is-said in speech. 175)]. the Phallus represents both desire and its insatiability.) in which the role of the logos is joined with the advent of desire" (Lacan. which Lacan does not define any further.The desire of man unfolds by means of the mechanisms of language . the attention of the analyst: "is certainly not directed towards an object beyond the subject's speech" (Lacan. respectively. 1977a. Lacan defines the analyst as a "pure dialectician" (Mitchell. the constant sliding from one signifier to another. 1977a. the treatment is always concrete. which definitely goes beyond the Kojèvian conception of the negativity of speech (more on this in 3. According to the particular problem it has to solve. The most important aspect of this dialectic is that it goes beyond what is purely subjective in analysis. The dialectic of desire. It rather advances along the axes of the Imaginary and the Symbolic of both the analyst and the analysand. in Lacan's doctrine. 287). is. being trapped in discourse. and at the same time. This already implies that the dialectic of the analytic cure involves some of the dialectical figures and functions mentioned so far.

self-satisfied.) interventions. the "dummy".. 1977a. If the analyst plays a dummy. The very counteraction of the analyst is of a dialectical nature. frequency and choice of (. at a rearrangement which eventually can change the direction and displace the accents of that discourse. Its overcoming evokes an essential change in the strategy of the analyst. a construct of his imagination. 1977a. you won't be worthy or bearing it" (Lacan. If he is active or in any way responsive to the imaginary demand of the patient. and reformulate its meaning. 'Take upon yourself' the patient is telling us. The "initial knot of the analytic drama" is the negative transference of the patient. pretending to be a "dummy". 228). This relationship revolves around certain imaginary or symbolic identifications of the analysand revived by the phenomenon of transference. 'the evil that weighs me down. and the bonds of its ambiguity" (Lacan. p. the other/Other. as acts which interrupt the imaginary or symbolic continuity of the delusion of the analysand. The encounter between the analyst and the analysand does not simply result in a one-dimensional master-slave relationship." (Lacan. and "the emergence of the subject from the transference is thus postponed ad infinitum" (Lacan. and the dialectical multiplication of the participants in the treatment: the analysand. but he is doing so in order to introduce the fourth player who is to be the partner of the analysand here" (Lacan. p. the analyst. mastery and servitude that are at work in it. He has to suspend his interventions. 81).. p.. p. Moreover Lacan equates paradoxically the intervention and the nonintervention of the analyst. Another aspect of the "dialectical" "rectification" of the subject concerns the intervention of the analyst and the timing of analysis. Even such a simplistic representation of the reaction against the transference uncovers the dialectical figures of rivalry. 1977a. p. and who find in a language whose mission is universal the support of their servitude.) we wish to avoid the trap that already lies concealed in the appeal. 229). unruffled as you are now.. 1977a. 1977a. The intervention of the analyst aims at a restructuring of the patient's discourse."But we analysts have to deal with slaves who think they are masters. The neutrality of the analyst requires a justification.) always free in the timing. His aim is to drag the patient out of his transferential delusion..) we become depersonalized (. The rivalry with the images (or symbols) projected onto the figure of the analyst will thus be overcome by a possible self-recognition of the analysand in the "mirror" of the impartial analyst.. or at least revise their tactics. He has to neutralize the transference by making use of it. Trying to counteract the transference of his patient: "(. According to Lacan the mastery of the analyst consists in the fact that he is: "(.. 43). that the patient addresses to us. In fact. This depersonalization reduplicates the analyst. 13). marked by the eternal pathos of faith. "(.an image.) the analyst is bringing to his aid what in bridge is called the dummy (le mort). Lacan presents both of these functions as forms of negativity. It carries a secret within itself. The analyst's neutrality will lead to "the subject's assumption of his own mirages" (Lacan. 1977a. The analyst willingly alienates himself. The negative transference appears to be a hindrance to the successful progress of the cure. then his words "will still be heard as coming from the Other of the transference". p. 1977a. which "represents in the patient the imaginary transference on to our person of one of the more or less archaic imagos" (Lacan. The analyst has to have such a freedom just because the target of his actions is not a reality outside his concrete relationship with a particular patient. each of the two main participants in the treatment follows a specific dialectical trajectory.. 231). the projected image is also dead and the patient will be able to reabsorb it as what it really is . p. 14).) we efface ourselves (. but if you remain smug. .....

. 1977a. 97). and. The labor of the patient is a regression back into his past. detached from any particular motive that lies the junction between the symbolic and the real (.not because it says nothing. which reveals how deeply imprinted and how well disguised some basic Hegelian concepts are in Lacan's thinking. he rediscovers the fundamental alienation that made him construct like another. by the same token. p. or it simply reorders the chain of signifiers in order to indicate the key-signifiers. he is already talking to us unknown to himself" (Lacan.. "In order to free the subject's speech. It is a reabsorption of all his mirages and fantasies. and under the respective effects of the symbolic and the imaginary. 81). This true. The subject is supposed to arrive at the conclusion: 'I am what I say I am. The mastery of the analyst is in the art of playing skillfully with his freedom to intervene. into the primary language in which. There is another almost Hegelian justification of the nonintervention of the analyst. 137-145). and which has always destined it to be taken from him by another"(Lacan. the discourse of analysis is the discourse of the analysand. The dialectic of empty and full speech in Lacan's psychoanalysis has been studied by M. His view on empty speech is that: "speech remains desperately 'empty' . but on the contrary.the void of the subject" (Jacobsen. that is to say. BorchJacobsen (1991. speaking through the subject. is an element of reality in analysis. The most important effect of full speech is that it makes the speaking subject aware of himself as a subject of speech . p.. I am nothing beyond . because its unstoppable babbling fills . 1977a. 1977a... 255). we introduce him into the language of his desire. In other words."(. or by annulling his own resistance when he is the other with a small "o".) the advent of a true speech and the realization by the subject of his history in his relation to a future" (Lacan. 1977a. 1977a.) the analyst's abstention.that is as the one who is in so far as he speaks about himself and the others. "(. In either case. The role of the analyst is to introduce the "dialectical punctuation" (Lacan. and of the subject as the medium (and the referent) of the unconscious.. p. 88). occults . 1977a. p. b) Lacan characterizes the process of the treatment as a labor performed by the patient and directed (managed) by the analyst. More exactly. he makes death present" (Lacan. beyond what he tells us of himself. p. representing the desire of the analysand. it is in this negativity in so far as it is a pure negativity . It is a recognition of the IT. structuring the analytic treatment itself.) this non-action of the analyst is founded on our firm and stated knowledge of the principle that all that is real is rational. It uncovers something underrepresented so far.. "For in this labor which he undertakes to reconstruct for another. 42). therefore. 95) of that discourse. There can not be a more resourceful allusion to the master-slave relationship reproduced in.and. Correspondingly. which allows "the signifiers in which his frustration is bound up to reappear" (Lacan. and on the resulting precept that it is up to the subject to show what he is made of" (Lacan. the goal of analysis is: "(. What is the desired outcome of the patient's labor? Certainly it is not his "freedom" or the reappropriation of his "true" self... free or full speech (as opposed to the empty or "imaginary" talk of the patient) tells the analysand something unknown but determinative of his own discourse.) either by his silence when he is the Other with a capital "O". p. p. his refusal to reply. p.) the analyst intervenes concretely in the dialectic of analysis by pretending he is dead (. 140). 1977a. p.that is. 1991. 138)..

Ambiguously. These Jacobsenian reflections on the outcome of the treatment do not necessarily match with Lacan's conception on it. not only because of the Hegelian structures involved in it.language. Thus. that is. which is the art to reach the truth of something (of a metaphysical problem) in a dialogue. and finally through the intersubjectivity of the analytic cure. We have already examined all those problems in Lacan's psychoanalytical theory related to the dissolution of the subject in an imaginary rivalry or a symbolic servitude. 63). 3. and his real position (of servitude) in regards to the Other. therefore. a) The struggle for recognition (or prestige). comes out of the reconciliation of the analysand with his real master (the Other). between the signifiers of my speech'. The labor of the patient does not bring him closer to his freedom. must surely. He will hear not so much what he-is-talking-about.1 Alternative re-interpretations of the Hegelian dialectical figures viewed so far. he must be able to bring the patient closer to his truth by means of a specific strategy in the dialogue with him. LACAN'S ALTERNATIVE RE-INTERPRETATIONS OF THE HEGELIAN DIALECTICAL FIGURES VIEWED SO FAR. LACAN'S REFERENCES TO OTHER DIALECTICAL FIGURES OF THE PHENOMENOLOGY. The recovery of the patient is possible only if he recognizes the real place and function of the Other (language. which designates the imaginary identification of the subject (the ego). stress a basic assumption of Lacan. The success of the analytic cure. They. but that-he-is-talking. Psychoanalysis. The negativity of desire. the self-evident fact that it deals solely with words" (Mitchell. however. These are some of the aspects of what Lacan ambiguously defines as a dialectic of the treatment. 3. therefore. The five Kojèvian modes of negativity adopted by Lacan do not appear in his writings in the wellarticulated form in which we have presented them. 1982. that is. through speech and desire. and has to develop a dialogue technique adjusted to its peculiar purpose. We shall focus now on the more significant alternative references of Lacan to the Phenomenology of Spirit. mastery (of the Other). speech). The therapeutic effect of the "dummy". indicate a failure to recognize an immediate given. p. speech and death is very often only alluded to or supplies certain theoretical reflections with a context of a higher order (more universal and philosophical). but also because it operates solely with words (and not with real entities). It is also impossible for us to uncover all their connotations and metaphorical reversals. It is a transition from an unconscious state of servitude to a false master into a conscious state of servitude to a real one. and may be able to experience his authentic emptiness as a subject erased by the signifier. Through the silence of the analyst the patient can hear himself talking. I am the nothingness situated between the elements of that language. The analyst must be an experienced dialectician. to reveal the vanity of the patient's search for truth and truth itself. struggle. therefore. which is absolutely unattainable. because the dialectic of the treatment may also be related to the ancient Greek idea of dialectics. he can remain at a distance from the content of his speech. Lacan's negativistic acknowledgement of this background dimension of the dialectic of the analytic cure is quite unambiguous. "The fact that a dialectical conception of psychoanalysis has to be presented as an orientation peculiar to my thinking. may be sought also in the fact that the patient may recognize the nothingness he himself is in the frozen face of the analyst (he will see that detached from his speech he will be just as dead [a nothingness] as the silent analyst). may alter its permanent designation if the participants in it are not the ego and its . or if the analyst is as an experienced dialectician as Socrates is. is a dialectical venture.

as real human subjects. 212). b.) From the conflict of the Master and Slave. he waits" (Lacan.. 1977. 1977b. "In fact the obsessional subject manifests one of the attitudes that Hegel did not develop in his dialectic of the master and the slave. language or the symbolic law). 1977a. and this is what matters for the psychoanalyst interested in the structure of the subject's splitting. which is possible only if what Lacan means here as a master is the particular master (the Father. Such is the ultra-negativistic standpoint on the master-slave relationship. or the neurotic (the obsessional) and the Other. As a matrix of "primary alienation" (Lacan. is the ultimate form of negativity in Hegel's dialectic) here plays a central role.. in the conflict of the Master and Slave.language). as the poles of the Symbolic order the language and the speaking subject.) a legitimate justification for the term alienating vel" (Lacan. The slave has given way in face of the risk of death in which mastery was being offered to him in a struggle of pure prestige. 26).. But since he knows that he is mortal. This passage from Lacan's article on aggressivity.. according to Kojève. or the mother and the father of the psychotic. speech or death. which appears interwoven with the negativity of desire. in the uncertainty of the moment when the master will die. or merely evaporates before the absolute master (which. If.. since the human subject is nothingness. may be death. also casts some light on the outcome of the masterslave conflict. he decides. b. From this moment on he is able to accept his laboring for the master and his renunciation of pleasure in the meantime. it accounts here for the function of aggressivity viewed from an ontological perspective (that is as a constituting structure of man's existence). it is the recognition of man by man that is involved. in effect. p. b. here he views them ontologically. he also knows that the master can die. 1977a. The satisfaction of human desire is possible only when mediated by the desire and labor of the other. is the master-slave relationship. but the ego and the Father. The negativity of death (which. For if Hegel shows us that the status of the master is . before the absolute Master that is given to him in death. in which the "human subject" is reduced to a "nothingness".. he deduced the entire subjective and objective progress of our history (. 99). in Lacan's doctrine.imaginary double. as he usually does.. persistently followed by Lacan. whenever he refers to this Hegelian figure. p. In this particular case the master-slave conflict does not represent the pacification of the subject in the Symbolic. and.) Here the natural individual is regarded as nothingness. whether expressed in the sterile tyranny of the master or in the productive tyranny of labor" (Lacan.life remains for ever deprived of freedom (. b) The most widely spread and most polysemantic Hegelian dialectical figure Lacan refers to. 1 The master-slave dialectic as an ontological model. who occupy interchangeable social roles. 212) the master-slave relationship represents the inevitable division or splitting of the human subject (of both the master and the slave). just as this same conflict explains social revolution for Kojève.) we will see that the alienation of the master is structured in exactly the same way. it is also promulgated on a radical negation of natural values. 2 A purely psychoanalytical reformulation of the master-slave dialectic. p. 3 Lacan offers us even a more radical re-interpretation of the master-slave dialectic. the psychoanalyst) and not the universal master (the universal Other . which provides him with "(. p. no freedom without life . depriving the master of his mastery. In respect to their alienation the master and the slave are equal. "Hegel had provided the ultimate theory of the proper function of aggressivity in human ontology (.. "When the slave is confronted with the choice of his freedom or his life. Here Lacan does not regard the master and the slave.

This negation is not merely a substitution of the real referent of speech by its verbal representation. between the conscious and unconscious discourse of the subject. transforming him into something other than what he really is through the negativities of slavery.not for another subject. replace their ontological meaning with a plentitude of nonontological (or even poetic) designations. related to the negativity of speech.. see Phenomenology of Spirit. p. This passage also uncovers the decisive influence of Kojève.)" (Lacan. "A signifier is that which represents a subject. Speech hollows out the subject of discourse as the gap between what the subject is and what the subject says he is. of the freedom not to be what one is. 1977b. where referent. but is rather between its signifiers (it is an effect of their interrelations). mainly by way of allusions and metaphors. 193). It is impossible to bring out and decipher all those allusions and metaphors. 219). and. The referent/sender/receiver of speech is not any more behind its signifier. 104). for just like him Lacan assumes that death is the utmost manifestation of negative freedom.of the consented to sacrifice of his life for the reasons that give to human life its measure . depriving of his victory the master whom he abandons to his inhuman solitude" (Lacan. without changing their dialectical structure.) the symbol manifests itself first of all as the murder of the thing (. Another Lacanian theme. p. Thanks to his linguistic background Lacan also re-thinks the negation inherent to speech. mastery and the desperate (self-destructive) revolt. A single signifier does not represent anything. 126). The most prominent formulations of Lacan about the unconscious are that it is "structured like a language" (Lacan. evidently determine three forms of negativity undermining the self. 1977) standpoint on the negativity of speech: "(. This extension comes out of the fact that he reflects on analytic speech. A. 1977a.. An example of such an allusive and metaphorical reference to Hegel's master-slave dialectic can show us how well disguised and how deeply rooted it is in the Lacanian discourse. in Lacan's theory. For whom? . is the emergence and the functioning of the unconscious. It is a dissolution of the referent/sender/receiver of (analytic) speech into a nothingness.. b. 1977a. This basic Lacanian conviction accords with Hegel's view on the negativity of language and speech..and of the suicidal renunciation of the vanquished partner.. "Man's freedom is entirely inscribed within the constituting triangle of the renunciation that he imposes on the desire of the other by the menace of death for the enjoyment of the fruits of his serfdom .established in the struggle to the death of pure prestige. 1977a. p. p. 147). that the "unconscious is the sum of the effects of speech on a subject (. Lacan refers to the master-slave dialectic as well as to the other Hegelian figures employed by him. sender and receiver coincide (the analysand speaks about himself. and is considered by Lacan as a "gap" (hollowed out . but for another signifier" (Lacan. by mediating. 58-66. It does so only when related to another signifier. negates the thing it represents. Lacan extends this conception of the negativity of speech beyond the mere disappearance of the referent of speech (of the thing referred to by speech). between the Imaginary and the Symbolic. which. which does not only mediate (between the subject of speech and the referent of speech) but constitutes its own referents/senders/receivers in the void which it itself turns them into. c) The negativity of speech and language. the sacrifice and suicide. p. into the disappearance of the sender (or receiver) of this speech. that "the unconscious is the discourse of the Other" (Lacan. The three modes of appearance of death in the quoted text: the menace of death. 1977b. hears his own speech). p.I. 198). in the silence of the analyst. which is that speech mediates and. Lacan is aware of this more limited (the verbal representation negates only the sensible external things. p.)" (Lacan. 1977a. it is because it is to bring his choice through death that the master also constitutes his fundamental alienation" (Lacan. 4 Thanks to his suggestive and enigmatic style of speaking and writing. 104). Many of the psychoanalytical problems spin around the negativity of speech. As an effect of speech the unconscious is structured like a language (through metaphor and metonymy).. of the freedom to negate oneself. p. is primarily oriented toward the subject of speech. 1977b. between the various signifiers representing the subject.

the ego. Being a discourse beyond the cognition of the subject. 49). between the master and the slave. Though a polyvalent concept. "The moi. p. The negativity of speech in Lacan's doctrine appears to be reduplicated on the levels of conscious and unconscious discourse. it is structured like a risk. according to Lacan. There is always a missing or a hidden (repressed) signifier in the message of the unconscious. 1. death is not even structured like a fear. It is at the same time the hindrance to the achievement of such freedom.2 Other Hegelian figures referred to by Lacan.) in the Hegelian myth. there is a rule of the game" (Lacan. 249). a) The dialectic of the belle âme. that no one is willing to take. or as a "discontinuity" of repressed imaginary and symbolic elements "at all points homologous with what occurs at the level of the subject" (Lacan. that is not at the disposal of the subject in re-establishing the continuity of his conscious discourse" (Lacan. Death.. It is a very polyvalent concept. is trapped in such a vicious circularity. It widens and deepens the gap that the conscious subject of speech is. just because they are the driving forces of that disorder. of modern man. The neurotic. Lacan's scarce references to the dialectic of the belle âme relate this figure of the Phenomenology of Spirit either to the structure of neurosis. The most significant effect of the unconscious discourse on the subject is that it negates the referent/sender/receiver of speech without letting him control or conceive of his own dissolution. All his attempts to overcome this disorder increase it. in a word. . has taken on its form in the dialectical impasse of the belle âme who does not recognize his very own raison d'être in the disorder that he denounces in the world" (Lacan. The elements of unconscious discourse represent (and negate) another repressed discourse. "The unconscious is that part of the concrete discourse. The disorder he suffers from does not belong to the world around him but is produced by himself. 1988. Its revolt will bring it an even greater dissatisfaction. which is an essential reversal in respect to the Kojèvian point of view. The unconscious accedes to the conscious discourse of the subject only in an inverted form. 24). Itfunctions like a restraining risk. Thus the negativity of unconscious discourse is directed to discourse itself. p. First of all. as I have indicated elsewhere. in its turn. the disorder projected onto the world. does not only represent human freedom (or the absolute freedom man is able to attain). We have already seen in the preceding sections that death may appear either as an image or (mainly) as a symbol. It has a pacifying function (which takes part in the Oedipal normalization).by repression). p. 1977a. 70). death adheres in Lacan's theory to the Kojèvian conception of the negativity of death. 4 illustrates Lacan's awareness of the relationship between death and human freedom (which is a basic idea of Kojève). 1977a. which may be attached to the symbol of the Father or to other representatives of the Other. the unconscious plays an essential role in the negativity of speech in Lacan's theory. or to the structure of mental disorder in general. "(. It resides in a permanent delusion about itself and the world. it is a part of the Freudian myth about the Oedipus complex which Lacan takes into consideration. in sofar as it is transindividual. The quotation in 3. 1977a. From the beginning. and. like a stake. It institutes and guarantees the pact between the slave (the subject) and his master (the Other).. which will intensify. 3. p. In the Phenomenology the (romantic) beautiful soul revolts against a world of disorder which is simply a projection of its own disorder. b. however. d) Death has a special place in Lacan's psychoanalytical theory.

) the protest of the 'beautiful soul'. is a cognitive one). p.) in that (... 1977a. The main point of dissent between Lacan and Hegel is the Hegelian idea of a synthetic truth. 1982. which is beyond all verifications and doubts. according to Lacan..) that marks for us what. 65). unless he breaks it with some act of violence in which. it can be said that it is still no more than the suspension of a corpus of knowledge .. and in so far as what he feels to be the law of his heart is only the image. on reading it. c) Lacan's reformulation of the Hegelian "unhappy consciousness"12 throws light on a very important distinction between the Phenomenology of Spirit and psychoanalysis. "Hegel's 'cunning of reason' means that. directing his blows against what seems to him disorder. 171-172). however strongly it is engraved in Hegel. 65)..Similar references to the dialectic of the belle âme may be found on p.) rises up against the world in the name of the law of the heart" (Mitchell.. and not the spirit.. The dialectical figures employed so far by Lacan. It is the illusion that there is a truth or an absolute knowledge. What makes this distinction between Hegel's Phenomenology and psychoanalysis special is that Lacan is aware of it. 308-309). 20.from the 'discontents of civilization' in Freud (. p. 126-127 (1977a).) the subject does not recognize in the world's disorder the very manifestation of his present being. of a synthetic reshaping of the subject of knowledge. can not be articulated otherwise than the 'skew' relation that separates the subject from sexuality?" (Lacan. 311). p. p. All claims for an absolute truth lead the subject of discourse to a miscognition of his own status in the Symbolic order. 1977a. 1966.of which.. can not be treated ontologically by a psychoanalyst like Lacan who is mainly interested in human sexuality. the subject knows what he wants" (Lacan. p... Through the law of the heart Lacan alludes to the aggressivity resulting from the neurotic's delusion. p. 1977a... Finally. 297) The most important implication of this distinction for our thesis is that the Hegelian dialectical figures. 301). The separating line between them coincides with the separating line between knowledge and sexuality. 1982. 1977a. of that same being (. d) Lacan's critique of Hegel has been implied by many of his references to the Phenomenology analyzed so far.) there is no Other of the Other" (Lacan.. b) The Hegelian "cunning of reason" signifies for Lacan an illusion inherent to all rational knowledge (including the Phenomenology of Hegel).) his being is thus enclosed in a circle. The outcome of the conflict of the belle âme is the tyrannical imposition of the "law of the heart" on the world: "(. Such an absolute knowledge or a unconditional cognitive position is unattainable for the subject of discourse: "(. structure a field of experience which is predominantly a sexual one (whereas the field of the Phenomenology. (. p. Lacan even regards the dialectic of the belle âme and of the law of the heart as the most successful representation of madness in Hegel's Phenomenology.. and whose structure is often found among the intelligentsia" (Lacan. from beginning to end. a "mad" enterprise (. Lacan also relates the dialectic of the belle âme to the Dora case in Intervention on Transference (Mitchell. "The madman (. p. both inverted and virtual. he strikes out at himself by way of social repercussion.. "The cunning of reason is an attractive notion because it echoes with a personal myth that is very familiar to the obsessional neurotic. and in the epistemological problems correlated with it. We shall not discuss here why Lacan assumes that the subject matter of the Phenomenology is the subject of knowledge. of an absolute knowledge. which structure in the Phenomenology a realm of knowledge and self-knowledge (a view shared also by Lacan). "Who can not see the distance that separates the unhappy consciousness . Such is the general formula of madness that we find in Hegel" (Lacan.) wants to impose the law of his heart on what appears to him as the disorder of the world. which makes us suppose that he is also not unaware of the transformations he introduces in the Hegelian dialectical figures.. What interests us now is Lacan's fundamental disbelief in .

better or more truthful. in effect.Part I: Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit and its Kojèvian interpretation as a point of reference for the psychoanalytic theory of Jacques Lacan. the fully conscious self. there is no going back on it. because knowledge. is series of miscognitions which undermine the identity of the subject and make any correspondence of knowledge to the reality of the subject impossible.the absolute knowledge. He is named. is the hindrance to any possible synthesis of something new. should be raised if we want to draw the distinctions between Kojève's and Lacan's conceptions of dialectics. 156). which is the pattern of a dialectical negativity for Kojève. its outcome . and is the fundamental hypothesis of this whole process. . heavily marked by Kojève's influence on Lacan. the conjunction of the (Lacanian) Symbolic with the (Lacanian) Real is something unattainable. Lacan emphatically rejects the constructivity attributed to sublation by Hegel: "(. the being conscious of self. are not the matrix itself. designate the conflicts and the divisions operative in Lacan's psychoanalytical theory of the subject. p. The most complete summary of Hegel's dialectic to be found in Lacan's writings reveals his sensitivity to the major problems of the Phenomenology. 1982. however. Sublation. he is called the Selbstbewußtsein. as products of the constructive sublations of the Phenomenology. The current second part of this paper deals with the Lacanian references to Hegel's dialectic and reveals that all of them refer not directly to it but to its negativistic and anthropological Kojèvian version.p. not even a new one.. They are part of the symbolic context in which it is worked out. opposite to one another. as being the substratum of this process. however. if not a subject fulfilled in his identity to himself? From which one can conclude that this subject is already perfect in this regard. absolute knowledge and the fully conscious self belong to the same sweet dream of philosophy. As such it is deduced. these dialectical figures accord with Lacan's linguistic reinterpretation of Freud. We have been regarding this transition as a transformative process.the synthetic (positive.13 There will always be a gap between knowledge and truth. The Kojèvian reversal of Hegel's idea of dialectics has been displayed in the paper: Hegel. CONCLUSION We have already examined some of the more important problems and aspects of the transition from Hegel's conception of dialectics to its Lacanian reinterpretation. The dialectical figures from the Phenomenology. according to Lacan.14 There are. It. They help Lacan elaborate the matrix of his radically negativistic (and why not postmodern) reformulation of psychoanalysis. constructive) outcome of dialectics in the Phenomenology. Absolute knowledge. this passage stresses its most vulnerable point. "This dialectic is convergent and attains the conjuncture defined as absolute knowledge.. The Aufhebung (sublation) is one of those sweet dreams of philosophy" (Mitchell. is an entirely destructive function in Lacan's view.The Metamorphoses of Dialectics . it can only be the conjunction of the symbolic with a real of which there is nothing more to be expected. which overemphasizes the splitting (die Spaltung) of the subject and its emptiness as a subject of speech. the fully conscious self" (Lacan. A simplification of the dialectic of the Phenomenology or not. which. can never revert to making one again. Kojève and Lacan . 1977a. The synthetic progress of the "fully conscious self" involves the function of sublation (Aufhebung).) when one is made into two. considerable differences between Kojève's version of Hegel's dialectic and its Lacanian inversion. These figures. higher. the selection of which is determined by Kojève. What is this real. a) The first question is: What is the impact of the dialectical figures employed by Lacan on his psychoanalytical doctrine? As modes of negativity. according to Lacan. Two general questions. 296). Correspondingly.

The main effect of Lacan's non-ontological approach is that in his theory the Hegelian phenomena of negativity are reduced to mere signifiers of negativity. Kojève regarded the five modes of negativity of desire. illuminate certain forms of human existence. He regards them as the phenomena around which revolves human history and progress. Since we are interested in the metamorphoses of dialectics in the transition from Hegel to Lacan. including those overemphasized by Kojève. labor. As phenomena they represent the modalities of human activity and creativity. however. Their emptiness comes out of the lack of a constant referent (an existing entity). labor. they refer to man's being. Their polysemy is based on their interrelations with other problems of Lacan's psychoanalysis. The Lacanian "dialectical figures" are able to designate almost everything in the field of psychoanalysis.15 b.they all designate modes of negativity. b. Inflated into signifiers of negativity. struggle. These particular dialectical figures refer to the historical existence of man. Contrary to Hegel and Kojève. that they represent some form of being (non-being) or another. The authentic Kojèvian principles of dialectics can hardly be recognized after the numerous semantic metamorphoses they undergo as a result of their non-ontological reformulations by Lacan. As signifiers of negativity. which requires a more detailed answer than the first one. This conviction is closely related to the broader context of his thinking: that of the reorientation of the human sciences in the XXth century from the problems of being to the problems of meaning. He is more attracted to the manifold meanings these signifiers of negativity can produce. speech and death as principles of every positive . Lacan disqualifies the ontological dimension of the Hegelian/Kojèvian dialectical figures mainly because of his deepest conviction that being is out of the reach of psychoanalysis and of the rest of the human sciences. which Kojève has promoted into principles of dialectics. which has linguistic and psychoanalytical dimensions. the Hegelian figures in Lacan's theory are simultaneously polysemantic and empty of meaning. The unambiguity of the phenomena of negativity in Hegel's Phenomenology or in Kojève's thinking results from the fact that they are regarded ontologically. we shall go on directly to our second question. The one thing we may be sure of is that the dialectical figures referred to by Lacan do not have only a decorative function in his thinking. Furthermore we can say that Hegel's phenomenological survey is also (but not only) an ontological one. He considers them as dialectical for almost the same reasons as Kojève does . They are ontological principles for Kojève. These reformulations are scattered around the whole of Lacan's theory. Lacan views dialectics from an entirely non-ontological perspective. This may be a task of a separate study. the Kojèvian dialectical principles do not represent in Lacan's theory the being of negativity or the negativity in being. struggle. 2 The second reversal of dialectics in Lacan's theory is based upon the nonontological adoption of Kojève's idea about the identity between dialectics and negativity. goes beyond the Kojèvian reformulations of Hegel's dialectic in two main respects. The five modes of negativity are the principles of one of the branches of Kojève's "dualist ontology" history. They designate the meanings of various forms of negativity operative in the realm of meaning (imaginary or symbolic). b) The second question is: What changes do the Hegelian dialectical figures undergo in the psychoanalytical theory of Jacques Lacan? Lacan employs the same dialectical figures from the Phenomenology. Lacan is not interested so much in the particular form of existence these phenomena designate. All the phenomena in the Phenomenology. 1 According to Kojève the five modes of negativity (of desire. disguised in various allusions and metaphors.We can not be sure to what extent Lacan's "dialectic" distorts or restructures the Freudian pattern of his theory. Lacan. speech and death) are the principles of the dialectic of history.

for his improvement and self-creation as a rational being. Lacan employs some Hegelian dialectical structures in order to represent the play of destructive forces (desire. rivalry. Austria Footnotes 1. Considerably intensified in the second half of the XXth century by the emergence of philosophical postmodernism. while the radical negativity endorsed by Lacan functions in the Symbolic (at the level of meaning). for Lacan. from the Rome report. The metamorphoses of dialectics in Lacan's theory are a product of a certain tendentiousness. but also adds to the principles of dialectics.. The subject of speech is irrecoverably split. The non-ontological and the radically negativistic perspectives in Lacan's standpoint on dialectics represent the two major reversals of the Hegelian/Kojèvian conception of dialectics. Dr. That is how he arrives at a radically negativistic conception of dialectics. While the Hegelian dialectical figures in Lacan's theory designate the negations that determine the splittings of the subject (of desire or speech).. but is rather a consequence of the re-deployment of certain dialectical structures from the domain of being to the domain of meaning.it is impossible for our technique to fail to recognize the structuring moments of the Hegelian phenomenology: in the first place the master-slave dialectic. 2 Definitions of the subject as a void. His conception of the subject as a void has also a normative value for the psychoanalytical treatment. the negativity of the beautiful soul (belle âme): ". The positivity we are referring to is an ontological one. because language is not the Being of metaphysics. Dialectics. 1977a. Radostin Kaloianov . constructive meaning. The Lacanian upturns of dialectics are not something arbitrary. his identity is nothing more than a function of their interrelations. The suspension of the ontological dimension of these phenomena of negativity eliminates the only reason for Lacan to consider them as principles of a constructive dialectic. He is the void between the signifiers of speech. formulated by Kojève. Ontological positivity is absolutely unthinkable in respect to language. . not only supports such a conclusion. or the dialectic of the belle âme and of the law of the heart. p. This second reversal of dialectics in Lacan's theory is not a result of a re-interpretation of Hegel or Kojève. this reorientation explicates at least the inevitability of the Lacanian reversals of Hegel's dialectic. the function and the meaning of the Hegelian dialectical figures present in Lacan's psychoanalytical doctrine. These two reversals condition all the metamorphoses of the structure. Man's being is nothing outside language and speech. but rather stems from the much more general tendency of a reorientation of the human sciences from the problems of being to the problems of meaning. and generally whatever enables us to understand how the constitution of the object is subordinated to the realization of the subject" (Lacan. as a gap are almost a common place in Lacan's writings. 80). which is supposed to restore the emptiness of the subject (its openness for endless significations) whenever it has petrified in a kind of deceptive identity. speech) working upon (and dissolving) the subject of analysis. A statement of Lacan. which has nothing to do with Lacan's partiality or theoretical incompetence. The Kojèvian modes of negativity are accountable for the real historical progress of man. The Lacanian idea of dialectics excludes any positivity whatsoever. They do not result from a philosophical illiteracy or misunderstanding.Vienna. Lacan emphatically denies them any chance to have a positive. is centered around the nothingness of the subject of speech and around the negations that sustain this nothingness.changing and reshaping of reality because he attributed these principles to the activity of man as a historical being.

12 In Lacan's theory. 5 Unlike demand. in this fundamental division. 10 The want-to-be is not simply a compensation for the frustrated want-to-have. p. Aphanisis. which does not have anything in common with the structure of the Phenomenology. according to Freud. 221). the "unhappy consciousness" itself is a synonym of the dividing reduplication of the subject in two incommensurate realities. somewhere. are: a) Lacan's basic idea about the inaccessibility of truth. aphanisis of the subject. 225). p.. while the stake of the desire of recognition is the recognition (which is a sort of identification) by the imaginary double of the ego. Some of them will become clearer in the course of our presentation. 1991.3 "There is no subject without. It seems that Lacan's theory maintains a structure centered around the pre-and-trans-subjective agency of the letter. Lacan also sees the Oedipal stage as a transition into the Symbolic order. or b) man's desire desires like the desire of the Other. Through the Oedipus complex. something definitely non-Freudian in Lacan's conception on the Oedipal stage. 1977a. means fading of the subject. 4 Other indications of the Lacanian rejection of Hegel. 8 All gender-specified pronouns in this paper have not to be understood in a realist manner. The function of the lack which sets into motion the want-to-be. however. .. The unfolding of the former is partly a compensation for the failure of the latter. p. 1977b. based upon the pre-and-trans-subjective agency of the spirit. 11 Other possible interpretations of the same formula: a) man's desire desires the desire (the recognition) of the Other. This linguistic reformulation of the Oedipus complex is definitely related to the "rigid 'dualist ontology' of Kojève: man is what he is (.) only by not being what he is" (Jacobsen. 7 There is. however. The stake of the demand for love is the possession of (or by) the Mother. the subject acquires an identity in an order of rules and symbols guaranteed by the superego. besides the most radical one: the denial of the success of any dialectical synthesis. This symbolic intervention only directs but does not suspend the imaginary process. stems from the frustration of the want-to-have. except may be those gender-specified pronouns that are being suggested by the quotes from Lacan. the desire for recognition emerges in the ego(moi)-other relationship. speech and death have other meanings than in the Kojèvian or Hegelian conceptual registers. b) The substitution of the spirit by the letter: "The pretensions of the spirit would remain unassailable if the letter had not shown us that it produces all the effects of truth in man without involving the spirit at all" (Lacan. is not the acquisition of a permanent identity by the subject. what has been lost on the level of the want-to-have. 9 We have to bear in mind that in the Lacanian conceptual register. and it is in this alienation. 6 The small-"o" other is designated in the mirror by the big-"O" Other (the Mother). 158). which brings into existence the other and which requires of him a recognition. but rather the dissolution of the subject of speech into a void which is constantly refilled by various signifiers. desire. which is a request for love and which belongs to the child-Mother (imaginary Other) relationship. The outcome of this transition. here. This frustration urges the want-to-be to achieve on another level. and which seemingly solidifies into a signifier (and therefore acquires an identity). that the dialectic of the subject is established" (Lacan.

13 The otherwise impossible conjunction between the Symbolic and the Real is exemplified for Lacan by the abstention of the analyst in the treatment (see 2. p. turns out to be a movement in which it loses its own truth. a). 1977a. Harmondsworth. Écrits. ”Consciousness thus discovers that the process in which it placed its knowledge in doubt. 1984. 1991) Mitchell J. is an incessantly increasing despair.1991) Lacan J. Pathologically viewed the movement of the spirit. the 'path of doubt' (Zweifel) is transformed into . trans. Jacqueline Rose. Le desir et son interpretation. Écrits: a selection. a wise man.. Routledge Lacan J. Macmillan Press. it is impossible not to make a general theory of the symbol the axis of a new classification of the sciences where the sciences of man will once more take up their central position as sciences of subjectivity" (Lacan. The Seminar of Jacques Lacan. 1982. The analyst simulates a Hegelian philosopher.. Paris. 1988... 3. all the while certain that it held a firm criterion for what the object of its knowledge was in itself. Alan Sheridan. trans. Book I.1991) Lacan J. The Absolute Master. Navarin Editeur (quoted from Jacobsen. Feminine sexuality. Stanford UP. Alan Sheridan. Stanford. Paris. Penguin Books. Bibliography: Borch-Jacobsen M.. 1991. Seuil.. Douglas Brick. trans. 14 Lacan pays attention mainly to those dialectical figures of the Phenomenology of Spirit which have been promoted into principles of dialectics as such by Kojève. Lacan. England Lacan J. 1977a. which does not prove that he really has an absolute knowledge or that he really has reached the truth the patient expects him to have. 1966.. New York. 15 Lacan is completely aware of this re-orientation: "From now on. Les complexes familiaux dans la formation de l'individu. 1958. The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis.. Norton (quoted from Jacobsen. This is one of the guidelines of our study. London [Back to Library] Another methodological reflection (Kenley Royce Dove) casts some light on the pathos of the Phenomenology. manuscript copy (quoted from Jacobsen. 1991) Lacan J. (quoted from Jacobsen. 73). advancing through sublation and self-alienation. Freud's Papers On Technique. trans. 1977b. LA Lacan J.

here. 71. for they do not refer to their own possibility. and if it is not (it is certainly not) at the level of its ideas. On the contrary the Phenomenology deals with the dialectical unfolding of the living spirit. if there is to be found some communicability between psychoanalysis and Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit. In fact all these correlations are rather indeterminate and abstract. If we want to advance further. it may still be found at the level of its pathos (and its sources). do not inform us about anything more than a hypothetical connection between the Phenomenology of Spirit and psychoanalysis. can be found between the Hegelian and the psychoanalytical conceptions of truth. which can be described pathologically. explicit or implicit. In other words. His interpretation is based on the assumption about the common itinerary of the Phenomenology of Spirit and psychoanalysis (they both follow an Oedipal trajectory). the pathos of despair. however. Before that. p. examined in the above mentioned studies of Hyppolite and Dove. This pathological aspect of the Phenomenology seems to be extremely provocative and attractive to the theoreticians of psychoanalysis. and finally between the tasks of both the Phenomenology and psychonalysis: to bring the subject back to himself. we will comment on several other studies on the same subject. contingency and forcibility . we will have to leave behind the partial aspects of the problem and turn our attention to the idea of Hegel's Phenomenology. The fact that we can speak of a pathos of the Phenomenology already overthrows the somewhat trivialized interpretation of this work of Hegel that it presents the dialectical (antinomical and self-recurrent) and purely rational movement of the Notion (Begriff). and this is where the despair comes from. Butler's study treating Lacan's relationship with Hegel and following an analogous method. 71). This revelation is rather accompanied or even fulfilled in the modes of unawareness. to his own truth. These two aspects. between the structure of self-consciousness (a self-alienation of consciousness) and the psychoanalytical view on this issue. between the master-slave relationship and the Oedipal normalization. 2 To sum up. J. which is disputable. The unclarity of Hyppolite's study. Having considered the pathos of the Phenomenology. it is not clear whether these correlations are real or hypothetical. In his article Hegel's Phenomenology and Psychoanalysis (Steinkraus. particularity. expedient and voluntary revelation of the spirit. according to Hyppolite. but it is not the only one. Moreover. however. we can no longer think of it as a triumphant and jubilant self-manifestation of the spirit. obtains from the fact that they place the difference and the similarity (no one. the method and the pathos of the Phenomenology of Spirit. Hyppolite attempts to reread the Phenomenology as an Oedipal tragedy. and on the assumption about the correlation between certain notions. forgetfulness. 409).'the way of despair' (Verzweiflung). which designate various processes and stages in the Phenomenology of Spirit or in psychoanalysis. it is also not quite clear what kind of commensurability between the Phenomenology and psychoanalysis they endorse. This correlation. between the Hegelian law of the heart and paranoiac knowledge. P. this despair is immanent in the very movement of consciousness itself” (Steinkraus. Ricoeur would probably argue against this last correlation. just as the unclarity of J. pleads for identity) between the 3 . defined in terms of accessibility and provocativeness. between the observing "we" of the Phenomenology and the function of the psychoanalyst. are two of its many aspects that show its accessibility and provocativeness for psychoanalysis. as a process of fully conscious.

4 5 What makes us focus on the idea of the Phenomenology. which cannot be explained only by its accessibility and provocativeness for psychoanalysts (like Lacan) and their interpreters . we will have to reconstruct the idea of the Phenomenology of Spirit and will have to point out its possible (or maybe even hypothetical) implications for psychoanalysis. Correspondingly. the idea of the Phenomenology. the accessibility. since it is its idea. to look for the direct implications of the idea of the Phenomenology for psychoanalysis. It is not surprising. then. more or less recognized or totally miscognized. they do not penetrate further into the dimension of the respective idea. The idea of the Phenomenology can be realized through the place this work has in the wider Hegelian context (which is an indirect form of access to it).the Conflict of Interpretations. To put it in other words. on the side of the psychoanalyst. which is probably the most inaccessible thing for psychoanalysts and which might have had the least influence on them? The idea of the Phenomenology. and through its explicitly formulated task and subject. Having viewed some of the studies on the relationship between Hegel's philosophy and psychoanalysis (Freudian or Lacanian) we can definitely say that they have at least one thing in common: they all relate psychoanalysis to the Phenomenology of Spirit. it takes into account both the idea and the factual of the Phenomenology and psychoanalysis. It is useless. 1. the provocativeness and finally the meaningfulness of Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit for psychoanalysis in general. Indeed. they both remain at the level of what the Phenomenology and psychoanalysis posit as their results. can easily raise the interest of a psychoanalyst. the ideas of the Phenomenology and psychoanalysis are not presented as what they are. on the side of its interpreters (some of which we have mentioned earlier). however. On our turn. 1970. appears to be the foundation of all references to it. for it defines a type of experience and dynamics structured very much like that of his own field of study. Chapt. But even if the latter is not true.Phenomenology and psychoanalysis in the factual. . Paul Ricoeur's study on the relationship between Hegel's Phenomenology and Freud's psychoanalysis (Ricoeur. that the interpreters of its relationship to psychoanalysis leave aside the idea of the Phenomenology. and particularly for Lacan's theory come from its idea. and of all interpretations of its relationship with psychoanalysis. which Ricoeur merely deduces from the much broader conflict of much more comprehensive ideas. but it neglects the particularity of the phenomenological project of Hegel. In fact. Book III. however. 1 The idea of the Phenomenology of Spirit according to its place in the Hegelian system. an explication of the idea of the Phenomenology will help us see the insurmountable distance and difference between the Phenomenology and psychoanalysis. runs to the other extreme. but represent something other than them . After that we will turn our attention to the actual relationship between Lacan's psychoanalytical theory and Hegel's Phenomenology. which structures and specifies the meaning of those results. 3).

The Phenomenology of Spirit traces out the succession of inner-world formations of what the spirit is not or seems not to be. the phenomenology of spirit has a particular place.65. being an element of such a vast. mediating stage of this identificatory process. 2 The idea of the Phenomenology of Spirit with view to its specific task. #387). in the Hegelian system at least. The Phenomenology of Spirit deals with the self-recognition of the spirit in its ideal or subjective otherness. #385). #79) moment presupposes mediation. The "for itself" of the spirit in the Phenomenology is tantamount to "mediated". It deals with the spirit as inner-world (Inwelt). task and idea.65. tries to rediscover itself and strives after "the ideal nature of the totality of the Idea" (Petry. differentiation and otherness in the modes of self-identification and self-becoming of the spirit. The briefest formulation of what Hegel regards here as a subjective spirit is that it is the spirit "in the form of its being related to itself" (Petry. still as identical reflection into itself and into an other" (Petry. dialectical. The phenomenology of spirit is one of the philosophical sciences examined in the Encyclopaedia6. In other words the spirit. the self-becoming of the subjective spirit in its mediated form. 1. The Phenomenology of Spirit is the representative of this negative-rational moment at the level of the philosophy of subjective spirit. p. which is not radically different from the external world. negating and mediating moment of every logical-real (Logisch-Reelle). which is :"For itself or mediated. It follows the immediate anthropological selfcognition of the subjective spirit as natural spirit (Naturgeist) or actual soul (wirkliche Seele). p. The second formulation concerns the conjunction "or" in our last quotation. but. This simply means that the spirit has returned to itself in its ideal aspect. but still miscognizes itself in its reality (objectivity) and its synthetic truth. 79. We can be easily misled by some of the formulations used so far. The subjective spirit tries to identify itself as an ideal totality (ideelle Totalität). lost in Nature. The ideal totality of the spirit is its particular totality and is therefore not complete and true.EPW. which is simultaneously a negation (for it disguises it) and a restoration (for it brings it closer to its self-recognition) of the spirit. in its otherness. It belongs to the philosophy of spirit. which leads us to the conclusion that this particular philosophical science regards the self-identification. #385). The first formulation concerns the meaning of the subjective spirit . and of what it finally occurs to be. . p. 1978. The subjective spirit is an inward conceiving of the spirit. encyclopedic (both educative and reminiscent) system of the philosophical sciences. No doubt. The specific subject matter of the Phenomenology is the subjective spirit.Hegel's most comprehensive and complex work Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical Sciences [Enzyklopädie der Philosophischen Wissenschaften im Grundrisse (1830)] in its final version offers a clear indication on where is the place of the Phenomenology in the wider Hegelian context. 7 This conclusion fits perfectly with what Hegel defines as the second. There is no absolute and qualitative difference between this particular form of the spirit and its totality. and is the second of the philosophical sciences on the subjective spirit (the other two are anthropology and psychology). The phenomenology of spirit is the second. Such a negative-rational (negativ-vernünftige . 1978. is the potentially objective world. 1978.

The Science of Philosophy. but the actual. p. this mediated self-cognition (and self-revelation) of the spirit is not absolutely distinguished from its immediacy: "this mediation. to show him his own involvement in the mediated selfbecoming of the spirit: . 1977. appears to be a propaedeutics to this form of selfcognition of the spirit. to lift him up to the level of the spirit. it finds itself" (Hegel. In fact the mediated manifestation of the spirit (which is the subject matter of the Phenomenology). 1977. which are at the same time stages of approximation to the spirit as such. a) He grounds it ontologically (constitutively). 11). The task of the Phenomenology of Spirit is to trace out in their internal necessity and interdependence. that whichposits itself and is alive within itself . spiritual): "whose mediation is not outside of it but which is this mediation itself" (Hegel. its self-cognition in an other. The Phenomenology of Spirit is preoccupied with the task to educate the individual. The Phenomenology reveals an immediacy (trans-individual.It is the process which begets and traverses its own moments. He regards the Phenomenology of Spirit as a propaedeutics to the Science of Philosophy. should show him this standpoint within himself" (Hegel. The Phenomenology. The latter is characterized as follows: Its element and content is not the abstract or non-actual. the mediating forms of self-revelation and self-becoming of the spirit. and this whole movement constitutes what is positive [in it] and its truth (Hegel. Consequently. p. 1977. in utter dismemberment. that is from the point of view of the other of spirit. corresponds to the above mentioned "negativ-vernunftige" (negative-rational) moment in every logical-real. and is the immediate itself" (Hegel. 27). It is supposed to pass through all the subsequent stages of otherness of the spirit.existence within its own Notion. on account of its simple nature. its subject matter and its task. p. therefore. 1977. Moreover. as is its immediate self-cognition through the Notion. b) Hegel also grounds this inevitable.The preface of the Phenomenology outlines distinctly its method. Hegel grounds the propaedeutic task of the Phenomenology in a twofold way. on its turn. which presupposes the spirit as self-identical. 19). is just immediacy in the process of becoming. but relative duality between the spirit and its other (the forms of its otherness) phenomenologically (constructively). when saying that the spirit "wins its truth only when. It is. p. "the individual has the right to demand that Science should at least provide him with the ladder to this standpoint. is "das Verkehrte" in regards to the individual. which is supposed to raise the individual to a self-cognition of itself as spirit. supposed to be a mediated self-reflection of the spirit.14-15). The Phenomenology is not identical to what Hegel defines as Science or Philosophy. p. whose determination presupposes only the natural consciousness (or soul). 19). 1977. The mediated selfreflection of the spirit is as essential for the process of its identification and self-becoming.

as we have said earlier. it unites the objective form of the Truth and of the knowing Self in an immediate unity” (Hegel. The Phenomenology of Spirit. as a historical temporality. is that it designates the contradiction between the presence of the spirit in its concurrent forms and the representation of the spirit as a succession of its forms of otherness. with the dyads of time and eternity. 491). as a dialectical sliding of forms of life and points of view. of the circular and the . 1977. regressively revived forms of otherness of the spirit. whose formative education has to be studied” (Hegel.”(. On the contrary. between mediation and immediacy. These two clarifications of the specificity of the idea of the Phenomenology of Spirit accord completely with our conclusion in subsection (1. Science on the other hand does not contain this difference and the canceling of it. 1977. seem to lose their relative. between the otherness of spirit and the spirit itself. In other parts of the Hegelian system (the Logic) the spirit alienates itself into elements equal to it (the opposed notions). since the moment has the form of the Notion. certitude and truth (Gewissheit and Wahrheit). the dynamic principle of the Phenomenology). of the positive and the negative. Further evidence in favour of our standpoint appears to be one of the final theses of Hegel's Phenomenology.. which structures the whole Phenomenology. The Phenomenology of Spirit cannot perform its educative and intermediary function if it does not start from the point of view of natural consciousness. The meaning of this opposition. and is the movement in which that difference is canceled. and at the same time if it does not regard all the subsequent levels of its progress as various. representative value and which manifest the splitting of the spirit as an absolute and irrevocable one. p. and the function of synthesis has an equal weight as that of splitting (or alienation). It is precisely the transition of the spirit into a phenomenal otherness which makes it possible to comprehend the latter as an absolute otherness. (which is. Otherwise it would be impossible to demonstrate the involvement of the natural consciousness in the process of becoming of the spirit. The educative task of the Phenomenology requires that it be an overview of the mediated selfbecoming of the spirit in its otherness. thus. no synthesis has any chance to be entirely successful. 1). self-conscious Spirit. In the Phenomenology.. ”Whereas in the phenomenology of Spirit each moment is the difference of knowledge and Truth. while the function of splitting is further fueled by the aspect of otherness. however. just as it was the universal individual. 16). of being and becoming. which. still unresolved in the Phenomenology of Spirit. according to Hegel. The specificity of the phenomenological splitting of the spirit is that it is a seemingly insurmountable one. p. the function of splitting seemingly has a priority over that of synthesis. The opposition between the form and the notion of the spirit. being a transition into an otherness of the spirit. is correlated in the wider Hegelian context. because on the plane of the otherness of the spirit. culminates in an overcoming of the opposition (this opposition is the dynamic principle of the Phenomenology ) between form and Notion (Gestalt and Begriff).) the task of leading the individual from his uneducated standpoint to knowledge had to be seen in its universal sense.

the greater the chance for the Phenomenology to become significant for psychoanalysis. For. projection. based on natural consciousness. Ricoeur.). the equation of its form (Gestalt) to its notion (Begriff). or it is the otherness of spirit in its most primitive formations at the level of consciousness. repression. On the other hand. all possible interpretations of the relationship between Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit and psychoanalysis spin around the two axes outlined so far: the functional (the splitting of the spirit) and the topical (the primitive formations of subjective otherness of the spirit). We had to specify the idea of the Phenomenology to arrive at this conclusion. In other words.its otherness. It is either the splitting of the spirit. and functions as a transmission. To recapitulate. only a miscognition of the idea of the Phenomenology can result in an absolutist and universalistic apprehension of its functional and topical aspects. and the specific medium of the self-becoming of the spirit . the peculiarity of which comes from the medium they animate . by its particular otherness. presented by such functional concepts like sublation (Aufhebung). which. however. are only moments in the unfolding of the spirit. in fact. objectification. which presupposes a set of particular functional concepts. projection. the splitting. which presupposes a whole set of functions. The Phenomenology of Spirit. as something inactive and lifeless. Butler. which appears to be significant for psychoanalysis. introjection.the subjective otherness of the spirit. which grounds the actual relationship between Hegel and Lacan. alienation. the estrangement of the spirit in the Phenomenology. We had to indicate the functional aspect of the splitting of the spirit. . does not end up in a sublation of any of these dyads. which are related to psychoanalytical functional concepts such like negation. the less correctly psychoanalysis can conceive of the idea of the Phenomenology. especially in its application to the most primitive formations of otherness outlined in the beginning chapters of the Phenomenology. are the guidelines of most of the interpretations of its relationship to psychoanalysis. as we have already shown it. which evokes or can evoke the interest of the psychoanalysts and their interpreters (Hyppolite. These two aspects of the idea of the Phenomenology of Spirit. charges the formations of its otherness with a dynamics. reveals the dialectical structure of the spirit in its pure (triadic) form. We have to be aware of the fact that. An example of such a misrepresentation of the idea of the Phenomenology is its Kojèvian interpretation. It regards the split subjective spirit in the modes of its otherness. We have been dealing so far with the possible relationship between the Phenomenology and psychoanalysis. It simply sublates the moment of otherness in the phenomenological representation of the spirit. foreclosure. since psychoanalysis (Freud's as well as Lacan's) does not operate with such a concept like spirit (Geist) and since it regards the spiritual as a sublimation of primitive drives. the idea of the Phenomenology of Spirit is almost inaccessible to psychoanalysts. etc. may be a source of correlation between the Phenomenology and psychoanalysis. The sublation of the phenomenological otherness of the spirit. of the presence (existence) and the representation (essence) of the spirit.linear. 8 All these considerations lead us to the conclusion that the idea of the Phenomenology of Spirit can be formulated as follows: the Phenomenology of Spirit presents the self-recurrent movement of the spirit mediated by its otherness. Both the splitting of the spirit.

VII." (Kojève. therefore. The methodological aspect of Kojève's interpretation endorses the assumption that Hegel's method in the Phenomenology of Spirit is purely descriptive and contemplative. Kojève concludes that since the . which will be discussed later. 186). which is man as historical. The assumption of a real dialectic and the designation of man as the subject matter of Hegel's work is based on the ontological aspect of Kojève's argument. consists in the fact that it does not interfere with the reality it describes. therefore. The purely descriptive method of the Phenomenology simply registers the turnovers. for its results correspond completely to reality. "In Hegel there is a real Dialectic. marxism. Chapt. but the philosophical method is that of pure and simple description. The Kojèvian conception of the Hegelian dialectic and method in the Phenomenology finally appears to be the source of those metamorphoses of dialectics that are easily to be found in Lacan's writings.etc. 1980. Thus. as far as their influence on Lacan is concerned. but also on various trends of contemporary philosophy: existentialism. phenomenological in Husserl's sense of the term. VIII and IX from his course in the academic year 1934/35. it is an anthropological reading of the Phenomenology. both of these aspects have the same effects. is a truthful one. His interpretation has been usually qualified as an anthropological one. let us continue with the Kojèvian thesis that the contemplative method of the Phenomenology merely reflects the real dialectic of man's historical development. free and finite human being. These lectures reveal the fundament of Kojève's interpretative standpoint. which has an impact not only on Lacan's psychoanalysis. 2. As we shall see at the end. 1980. according to Kojève. is not at all 'dialectical': it is purely contemplative and descriptive. 171). or better. 1980. The advantage and the innovation of such a method. The method therefore appears to be dialectical in so far as the reality it reflects is dialectical. which is dialectical only in the sense that it describes a dialectic of reality" (Kojève. For the time being.as a mediation in it. on the basis of lectures VI. "The Hegelian method. VII). however is only an effect. which underlie these two conceptions. We shall reconstruct Kojève's arguments. 9 Kojève's argument has two complementary aspects: a methodological and an ontological one. the dialectical reversals of what Kojève defines as a real dialectic (dialectic of the reality) of the subject matter of the Phenomenology. These two conceptions are interdependent. These lectures are entitled: The Dialectic of the Real and the Phenomenological Method of Hegel (Kojève. THE KOJÈVIAN INTERPRETATION OF THE PHENOMENOLOGY OF SPIRIT Alexandre Kojève's commentary on the Phenomenology of Spirit offers a very influential interpretation. The anthropological approach. its cause is Kojève's dualistic conception of the Phenomenology and his negativistic conception of Hegel's dialectic. p. No doubt. The dialectic of reality is also a dialectic of the phenomenological method of Hegel. Such a method. p.

As a description of the real dialectic of history. "If one wants to speak of a 'dialectical method' used by History. Respectively. 10 The sources of the real dialectic are struggle and labor. "But one can say that the Hegelian Dialectic is entirely summed up by a single fundamental category. because it has two incommensurable objects . p. p. creation and development at work in it. The negativistic conception of dialectics leads Kojève to an anthropological reading of the Phenomenology. and that these principles are identical with the sources of the real dialectic. insists that Hegel's philosophy is a dualistic ontology." (Kojève. Nature and history are two different realms of reality which are subjected to two different principles: the former to the principle of identity. neither nature nor its philosophical reflection can be dialectical (while history and its philosophical reflection are dialectical). Kojève. 1980.nature and history. Consequently. and that a dialectical development takes place only when either struggle (for recognition) or labor are at work. by definition Dialectic and hence Totality exist only where there is Negativity" (Kojève. This methodological analysis and its conclusions (especially the reduction of reality to human reality. which he assumes to be Hegel's conception of his philosophy as a monistic ontology. because there is no negativity. we can see how the methodological explication of Hegel's Phenomenology suggests that struggle and labor are the principles of its dialectics. In note 15. the latter to the principle of negativity. it is man who is the dialectical principle in the realm of the dialectical being (history). on his turn. This already implies that there are universal dialectical principles (which determine both the dialectic of history and the dialectic of its philosophical description). p. to the same series of lectures Kojève discusses Hegel's main mistake11.Phenomenology of Spirit is an embodiment of the phenomenological method. "Indeed. 1980. which is supposed to mirror the dialectic of history through contemplative methods. 1980. and since there is only one entity in the world able to negate (sublate) itself and the surrounding givens. 208). 246). Moreover he regards the construction of such an ontology as the main task of the XXthcentury philosophy and highly appraises its Heideggerian revival in Sein und Zeit. one must make clear that one is talking about methods of war and work. according to Kojève. then the principles of the dialectic of reality are also principles of the dialectics of the Phenomenology. Since dialectics is possible only where there is negation or any other form of negativity. no source for change. the . Hegel's philosophy is a dualistic ontology. struggle (war) and labor (work) become the representatives of the dialectic of Hegel's Phenomenology. It can be easily seen that this dualistic reading of Hegel's philosophy is interrelated with a negativistic conception of Hegel's dialectic. Thus. and since the dialectic of this method rests entirely on the dialectic of reality. and the equation between dialectics and such forms of human negativity as struggle [Kampf] and labor [Arbeit]) rests on Kojève's ontological interpretation of the Phenomenology. 185). which is that of dialectical Overcoming (Aufheben)" (Kojève.

to introduce Work into the Real is to introduce Negativity and hence Consciousness and Discourse that reveals the Real" (Kojève. and which is also a selfnegation of the slave or servant (Knecht) who performs it.. the various forms of human negativity are the universal principles of the Hegelian dialectic (not only in the Phenomenology but also in the entire Hegelian system. 189). according to Kojève. a negativity which is the differentia specifica of the human being. 246). What forms of human negativity does Kojève promote to general principles of the Hegelian dialectic? The concrete forms (Gestalten) of human negativity are: a) The desire for recognition: "According to Hegel. is ". 225)..a nothingness that 'nihilates' in being. According to Kojève's interpretation. 1980. Man is nothing but Desire for recognition. b) Another form of human negativity. just as they are. is the fourth form of human negativity. for it is the Phenomenology of Spirit which presents the dialectics proper . as the Risk of life (Wagens des Lebens) which this Fight implies" (Kojève. p. This struggle is a negation: either of life or of freedom. 1980.12 Man is the source and the topos of all possible forms of negativity shaping history and sustaining its dialectical structure. By means of labor the slave overcomes his own singularity which makes him obey to the master out of fear for his life.the first 'appearance' of Negativity is described in the Phenomenology (Chapter IV) as a Fight to the death for Recognition. It institutes the master-slave relationship. 1980. p. or more exactly.. p... 1980.human death is a 'dialectical'(or 'total') 'overcoming'. e) The last and comprehensive appearance of human negativity (of the nothingness of man) is death (Tod): ". 212). c)The third form of negativity... 1980. "Now. an act of freedom: "Therefore Death and Freedom are but two ("phenomenological") aspects of one and the same thing.Phenomenology of Spirit traces out the various manifestations of the sole principle of the historical dialectic.the dialectics of history). The stakes of this struggle are life or freedom.. in which the master negates the immediacy and singularity of life for the sake of the universality of freedom. therefore. which annuls while preserving and sublimating" (Kojève. 192). thanks to the being which it negates" (Kojève. that is of man." (Kojève. negates the given for the sake of the nothingness of a recognition by another singular self-consciousness. according to Kojève. 215). Death (and suicide) are a radical negativity which comprises all other forms of human negativity and which is. is labor/work (Arbeit). Speech negates the given reality into an ideal word or concept.. which transcends and. which is "a real negation of the given" (Kojève. p. p. 1980. mentioned by Kojève.. d) Speech. 247). p. ." (Kojève. Man. 1980. p. is the struggle for recognition : ".

labor. p. ii) the specific principle of dialectics is negativity. that which posits itself and is alive within itself . There is not anything radically different here involved than the spirit in its truth and its certitude.)" (Hegel.. 1977. its gradual and mediated recurrence to itself. Hegel thinks that the only way for a philosophy to avoid interfering with its subject matter. 27).. The contemplative knowledge (historical and mathematical) is critically analyzed in the Preface of the Phenomenology. the student of Alexandre Kojève. "Philosophy. a dialectical function of death in the Oedipus complex.1. is not an external reality.13 2. which he exploits without posing further questions. vi) they are the only principles of Hegel's dialectics in general. on the other hand. The spirit appears to itself as something other than itself. precisely for being too contemplative. which is simply its knowledge (its memory. but also presents these moments and their derivatives as structured in accordance to the principles of the Hegelian dialectic. and respectively of the Phenomenology. It reflects the existence (Dasein) of the spirit. a dialectical splitting of the subject of speech. which consists partly in not being separate from the content.All those forms of human negativity are the moving forces of human history and are the principles of the real dialectic the Phenomenology contemplates. which may be related to at least one of these forms of negativity. a struggle for recognition in the Imaginary. Moreover. far away from the essence of its objects. that is. but to be this same subject matter. p. but takes part in them. struggle. Given all this. v) the forms of human negativity in history are: desire. its representation of itself). The immediate existence. Kojève’s ”Real Dialectic” We are going to revise the methodological distinction between the real dialectic and the contemplative method of the Phenomenology. it should be no surprise for us that Jacques Lacan consistently defines as dialectical those aspects of the subject's experience and of psychoanalytical practice. What has been a problem for Kojève has become a self-evident truth for Lacan. but we should not take the appearance for a reality.existence within its own Notion" (Hegel.. iii) the only entity in reality able to negate itself and the reality is man. a dialectic of desire. qualifies as dialectical precisely those forms of human negativity which Kojève has defined as the essence of Hegel's dialectics. it reproduces phenomenologically its own participation in them. and partly in spontaneously determining the rhythm of its movement (.) the actual.. 1977. He does not only detect a master-slave dialectic in the symbolic coming-into-being of the subject. The spirit does not only contemplate itself in its appearances. The Phenomenology of Spirit presents the self-becoming of the spirit. Hegel regards and justifies the method of the Science of Philosophy. Jacques Lacan. the Phenomenology is built upon the basic unity of being and knowledge. "This nature of scientific method. To recapitulate the Kojèvian argument reconstructed so far: i) there is only a real dialectic. has to do (. speech and death.) with (... is not to contemplate it (as Kojève assumes). which the . 35). the Phenomenology departs from. in opposition to such a contemplativity. iv) there can be a real dialectic only in historical (human) reality.

to distinguish between real and ideal dialectic. Kojève's negativistic reading of Dialectics We have to examine critically also Kojève's negativistic approach. labor. Dr. speech and death. Hegel would think of it as one of the manifold manifestations of the negativity of spirit. try to retain the authentic Hegelian focus on the life of the spirit. and one is only viewed in absolute perspective when its determinateness is regarded as a concrete whole" (Hegel. Man and spirit are not identical. p. If there is no reality and no real dialectic involved in the Phenomenology of Spirit. dialectics with history. and that is where the metamorphosis we are dealing with comes from. Radostin Kaloianov .2. speech and death as the principles of dialectics in general. struggle. While Kojève assumes that the negativity inherent to man's real existence is the universal dialectics of history. ii) Unlike Kojève. for this grounds his dualistic standpoint. It will be difficult. negativity with man. memory. In fact Kojève promotes certain externalized forms of negativity (operative in history) into universal principles of dialectics. The real dialectic is set into motion by human negativity. Kojève's negativistic interpretation has two vulnerable aspects: i) Hegel does not think of negativity as a specific feature of dialectics. Hegel does not identify negativity entirely with man. Having traced the Kojèvian metamorphosis of Hegel's dialectic we shall now turn to its resonance in Lacan's psychoanalysis.philosopher contemplates. to differentiate nature and history with view to their dialectical and nondialectical nature. and negativity is not a privilege of man. Negativity will lose its dialectical meaning if it is not a mediation to a new positing. Kojève overemphasizes negativity partly because he relates it exclusively to history and freedom. if not impossible. labor. Kojève associates dialectics with human negativity. If we. 77.Vienna. Austria Footnotes Each moment of the Phenomenology "is itself a complete individual shape. thought. he does not overestimate negativity but regards it as one of the necessary moments in the being and becoming of the spirit. Contrary to Kojève. 2. to endorse desire. but is an existence in the modes of representation. however. 1 . then it would be difficult to justify most of the basic Kojèvian premises: to equate dialectics with negativity. then the five principles of this "real dialectic" mentioned above drop out and can not be regarded as principles of the Phenomenology or of the Hegelian dialectic in general. struggle. and does not regard it as one of the moments of the life of the spirit (which has many manifestations other than history). for which the sources and appearances are desire. 17).

The coerciveness of the progress of the spirit can be argued against with a view to such traits of this progress like selfnegation, self-estrangement, etc. The coerciveness, however, does not suspend the autonomy of the spirit, but rather illuminates its full extent; for it is the spirit that coerces itself in its particular formations; it is the spirit in its alienated forms that is confronted with the impossibility to be itself, and that is forced to find a way out (a forceful one, since there is no other option to transcend a particular limit) back to itself. The violence we are speaking about does not come from outside, it is an immanent aspect of the movement of the spirit.
3

2

Lacan:The Opacity of Desire, in (Butler, 87, p. 186-204).
4

We have to be aware of the fact that the interpreters of psychoanalysis have made a greater contribution to the establishment of a relationship between Hegel and psychoanalysis, than the psychoanalysts themselves. We define as possible, not to speak of hypothetical, all those implications of the Phenomenology, which are not of an explicit interest for psychoanalysts, or are not regarded deliberately by them.
6 What Hegel defines here as a science is not what is usually implied by this term. According to Hegel a real science can only be philosophy and its subdivisions: "Science dare only organize itself by the life of the Notion itself" (Hegel, 1977, p. 31). Even this brief requirement tells us a lot about the Hegelian conception of the Science (die Wissenschaft), its method and task. The Science does not have its object outside itself, and does not study it by means of methods external to it. The Science, which Hegel refers to is not simply a science equal in status to all the other sciences, but is rather the criterion of what a science should be. The scientific nature of all the regular sciences depends on their place and contribution to the development of the Science; each of the regular sciences (natural or human) is a particular level in the development of the Science.

5

Hans Georg Gadamer gives us a clear explication of Hegel's conception of spirit: "Sein Begriff des Geistes, der die subejktiven Formen des Selbstbewußtseins übersteigt, geht also auf die Logos-Nous-Metaphysik der platonischaristotelischen Tradition zurück, die noch vor aller Problematik des Selbstbewußtseins liegt" (Gadamer, 1987, p. 67-68). We can enlarge Gadamer's definition by saying that the Hegelian concept of the spirit relates to the Greek Logosmetaphysics only in so far as it transcends it. The Hegelian Spirit is rather a synthesis of the ancient Greek Logos-Nousmetaphysics and the Christian idea of the Holy Spirit. In his lectures on the subjective spirit from the summer term of 1825, Hegel defines the spirit as that: "which stands between the natural and the everlasting worlds, relating and linking them together as extremes" (Petry, 1978, p. 91). The spirit which articulates itself in the forms (die Gestalten) of subjectivity, is a subjective spirit.
7 8 The phenomenological otherness of the spirit is not as radical a form of otherness as Nature. Since the Phenomenology of Spirit deals with the subjective spirit, it shows the otherness of the spirit which has come back to itself, which already recognizes or miscognizes itself but yet refers to itself. Natural consciousness itself, which is the initial point of the Phenomenology of Spirit, lies at the border between the radical otherness of Nature and the self-referential type of otherness viewed by the Phenomenology. The specificity of the otherness of the spirit in the Phenomenology is that it is a meaningful one; it is entirely placed in the realm of meaning. The phenomenological unfolding of the structures of the subjective spirit departs from the opinion (Meinung) of the sentient soul, which already means something, other than what the reality is. The phenomenological otherness is, therefore, constituted in the realm of meaning; it is not an existing, but a meant otherness (which, of course, also exists not immediately as Nature but mediated through consciousness, selfconsciousness and reason). What the spirit means itself to be in its various forms of otherness, is always something other than what it really is.

9

More on this issue: Roudinesco, 1990, p. 134 – 142

10 In fact Kojève performs here a twofold reduction. First, he reduces the dialectic of the Phenomenology to a dialectic of reality. Second, he reduces the dialectic of reality to an actually historical dialectic.
11 The fact that Kojève speaks of a mistake of Hegel already indicates the distance, the incompatibility between his interpretation and the idea of Hegel's philosophy.

The German translation of the same expression sounds very Heideggerian: "ein in Sein 'nichtendes' Nichts" (Kojève, 1975, p. 315).
12

"Kojève's teaching exercised an 'influence' on Lacan in the literal sense of the word. Every time he confronted a text of Hegel, he reintroduced the spark of a Kojèvian reading. Thus did he activate the fruitful phase of Kojèvian thought under the category of 'Hegelianism'. He would never contribute anything on the subject of Hegel that was not drawn from Kojève, as though that teaching had penetrated him to the point of being indistinguishable from his own later reading of Hegel's text." (Roudinesco, 1990, p. 140).

13

Bibliography: Butler J., 1987, Subjects of Desire. Hegelian reflections in Twentieth-Century France, Columbia U.P., New York Fulda H., 1973, Materialen zu Hegels Phänomenologie des Geistes, Hrsg. Hans Fr. Fulda & Dietrich Henrich, Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfuhrt am Mein Gadamer H. G., 1987, Gesammelte Werke, Bd. III, Neuere Philosophie, Mohr, Tübingen Hegel G. W. F., 1977, Phenomenology of Spirit, trans. A.V.Miller, Clarendon Press, Oxford Kojève Al., 1980, Introduction to the Reading of Hegel, trans. James Nichols, Cornell UP, London Kojève Al., 1975, Hegel. Eine Vergegenwärtigung seines Denkens. Kommentar zur Phänomenologie des Geistes, Hrsg. Iring Fetscher, Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfuhrt am Mein Petry M.. J., 1978, Hegel's Philosophy of Subjective Spirit, I & III, D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dodrecht, Holland (includes a translation of the third part of the Encyclopaedia, and fragments from Hegel's lecture courses) Ricoeur P., 1970, Freud and Philosophy, trans. Denis Savage, Yale UP, New Haven/London Roudinesco E., 1990, Jacques Lacan & Co. A History of Psychoanalysis in France 19251985, Chicago UP, Chicago Steinkraus W., 1971, New Studies in Hegel's Philosophy, edit. Warren Steinkraus, Holt, Rinehart & Winston, Inc., N.Y.

Hegel, Kojeve and Lacan - the Metamorphoses of Dialectics - Part II: Hegel and Lacan

28/11/2006 07:34 PM

Academy for the Study of the Psychoanalytic Arts

HEGEL , K OJÈVE AND LACAN - THE METAMORPHOSES OF DIALECTICS P ART II: HEGEL AND LACAN
Radostin Kaloianov
1. THE POINT OF CONTACT BETWEEN HEGEL AND LACAN: THE DIALECTICAL DYNAMICS OF THE SUBJECT. *"(...) the letter killeth while the spirit giveth life" (Lacan, 1977a, p. 158) ** I think that in saying Lacan against Hegel, you are much closer to the truth (...)"(Lacan, 1977b, p. 215) It would be incorrect to speak about a point of contact between Hegel and Lacan. One would in vain look after such a point. Its absence can be explained only by the presence of a mediating interpretation. Alexandre Kojève transmits to Lacan, in a considerably modified form, Hegel's views on dialectics in the Phenomenology of Spirit. The result of this transmission is that it institutes the notion of negativity as differentia specifica of Hegel's dialectic. It equates negativity with its manifestations in man. It reduces the Hegelian dialectic to the phenomena of desire, struggle, labor, speech and death. Kojève's lectures imply that the only dialectical formation in Hegel's philosophy and particularly in his Phenomenology of Spirit is the human subject ("a nothingness that 'nihilates' in being"). This "anthropological" presumption is the guideline of the Kojèvian interpretation of Hegel, and becomes easily adoptable in various human sciences and philosophical traditions: sociology, psychoanalysis, marxism, existentialism. It can be hardly surprising, then, that Jacques Lacan readily applies some of the results of this "anthropological" and negativistic interpretation of Hegel. Lacan qualifies as dialectical all acts and relations in the psychoanalytic field, which are or simply resemble those modes of human negativity postulated by Kojève. The desire for recognition, the struggle for prestige, the master-slave relationship, speech and death are the elements of Lacan's dialectical code. These help him ascertain and clarify the meaning of almost all major concepts concerning the subject matter of his psychoanalysis: the mirror-stage, the Imaginary, the Symbolic, the Oedipus complex, the formation and the manifestation of the unconscious, the psychoanalytical treatment, etc..1 It turns out that the Kojèvian modes of human negativity exhaust the whole register of negations inherent to the subject of Lacan's psychoanalysis. There is an essential difference between Kojève and Lacan. Lacan does not refer to man as a historical being. He studies man as a mental entity, the elements of which exist and relate to one another predominantly in synchrony. These elements and the negations which constitute them do not belong to reality, as they do for Kojève, but to the order of images and symbols, which is of interest for Lacan. Lacan does not employ literally the Hegelian figures of negativity but readapts them to the field of psychoanalysis. There is even a more profound difference between the Kojèvian interpretation of Hegel and its use by Lacan. Negation and negativity are the characteristics of dialectics. Negation, according to Kojève, is the splitting of a certain unity - the unity of the self or the unity of its world. This breaking apart has a positive outcome for Kojève. It leads immediately to a higher synthesis of the separated elements. So, when Kojève defines man, the human subject as "a nothingness that 'nihilates' in being", he emphasizes man's nature as an "act", he suggests man's openness to future positings, he implies man's ability to create himself in the future other than he is in the present. Though in a downgrade position the positive aspects of Hegel's dialectic are still at hand in Kojève's interpretation. Lacan, however, performs a radical reversal in respect to the subject of this negative dialectic. "Indeed, Kojève proposed a ‘humanist’ and ‘anthropological’ interpretation of Hegel in his course, and that was how he ended up stumbling onto the problem of death and finitude, dragging his most eminent listeners into a sort of strange Hegelianism of pure negativity, which rather quickly swerved
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the subject is born divided. p. the process of this meditation. A subject. Kojeve and Lacan . extend their function in Lacan's psychoanalysis to being the principles of the divisions or the splittings. the bases of this subject prove to be wider but. The Lacanian reversal is anti-humanist but not anti-Hegelian. of this reflecting reflection. was nothing. 1991.. which designates metaphorically that the human subject is always something more than its objectifications). but which can never be completely overcome. he also promotes a substantive negativity. 300). the image or the signifier only sharpens the division of the subject. which perfectly accords with the analogous effects of linguistics and structural anthropology. which is filled in by various images or signifiers. constitutive of the subject as a void. He defines the subject as a void. is the subject of speech. Lacan eliminates the human subject as the only positive reality in the dialectic of negativity. Lacan pulls the moderately negative dialectic of Kojève down to its limit. A subject. and it is in the lacuna that the subject establishes the function of a certain object. as a "Being of non-being" (Lacan. Correspondingly. on the gap between the elements split up by a negation. "(. 1977b. does not reside peacefully in the Cartesian tradition but rather. nor any sort of substance (. individuality and historicity. p. p. 1991. 207). The subject of desire is also a lacunary formation: "The self (. The effect of the signifier is exercised by "the function of the cut" (Lacan. The subject is this emergence which.) from the fact of being born with the signifier.) in the term subject (. p. is the subject of desire. p. who appears at the moment when doubt is recognized as certainty except that.to the emptiness of the subject. 1977b. solidifies into a signifier" (Lacan. as subject. That is how the Kojèvian reinterpretation of Hegel contributes to the Lacanian conception of the subject as a void. There are also other influences on Lacan alongside Kojève's: linguistics and structural anthropology. 126).the finitude of man. Lacan himself admits: "(. goes so far as to reduce the subject apprehended by the Cartesian meditation to a power of annihilation" (Lacan. and it is Lacan who transgresses its only limit . but which.html Pagina 2 di 21 . at the same time much more amenable to the certainty that eludes it" (Lacan. 90). which rather quickly swerved into a virulent anti-Hegelianism (and antihumanism)" (Jacobsen. carries this tradition and the conception of the subject it gives birth to. p. He is nothing or dead" (Jacobsen.) I am not designating the living substratum needed by this phenomenon of the subject.Hegel. labor. 1977a. The immediate effect of Kojève's negativistic interpretation of Hegel is that it suggests the primacy of the function over the elements it acts upon. in the widest meaning of the term. however. 185).the Metamorphoses of Dialectics .. having scarcely appeared. just before. 1977b. In other words the subject of desire is a lack. the "same" dialectic for Lacan annihilates man. yet we can distinguish two dominant meanings of the term "subject". 1977b..) nor even some incarnated logos. p. a void. struggle. recognized by Kojève as the principles of historical dialectics. While the dialectic of negativity for Kojève manifests Man's freedom. "When carried to the limit. Lacan's conception of the subject is polyvalent. 199)... In fact. for it is Kojève who related the dialectic of negativity to man. being an analytical conception. 3 Thus. Lacan's conception of the subject. to its very limit . This apparatus is something lacunary. suspends his identity and the very possibility for him to have an identity. Since the functional has a priority.. 206). p. speech and death). in the narrowest meaning of the term..2 We can not say that Lacan's anti-humanist reformulation of Hegel's dialectic is a direct consequence of its humanist interpretation by Kojève.. through my approach. as an empty space which is supposed to be filled in by the signifiers of the signifying chain. He is now 'something other' than himself... and since this functional aspect is manifested in the modes of negativity. file:///upload/in%20lingua%20-%20verificare/LACAN%20-%20doc/ING…AN%20-%20Hegel_Kojeve_Lacan%20Folder/Hegel-Kojeve-Lacan_2. but the Cartesian subject. Consequently it is justified for Lacan to conclude that: "The subject is an apparatus. Lacan not only describes various psychoanalytical problems in terms of the Kojèvian modes of functional negativity (as desire for recognition.) of desire is not identical to himself. it is quite obvious that the five modes of negativity. It is rather anti-Kojèvian. We have to correct slightly this remark. it is hardly surprising that Lacan focuses his attention on the hollow space.Part II: Hegel and Lacan 28/11/2006 07:34 PM eminent listeners into a sort of strange Hegelianism of pure negativity. The subject of speech: "is defined as the effect of the signifier" (Lacan. 1977b. which can be better expressed by the term "nothingness" (but not the Kojèvian "nothingness". 12). qua lost object" (Lacan.

it is by fixing him solidly in the metamorphoses of his essential image. This fragment presents the Imaginary as a fight of death and life. which on its turn is interpreted in a Kojèvian manner.Part II: Hegel and Lacan 28/11/2006 07:34 PM reduce the subject apprehended by the Cartesian meditation to a power of annihilation" (Lacan. 81). which Lacan inflates into the nothingness of the subject. The figures of dialectics in Lacan's psychoanalytical theory. The other main aspect of the imaginary identification concerns its dynamics. no limitations. The central articulation of the subject is based on the vector of identification. This already brings us closer to the circularity and the dialectic of the Imaginary. The gaze can see imaginatively what the ego desires. 2. predominantly in terms of identification. postulates that: "(.1 The dialectic of the imaginary identification. a dynamics sustained by desire.. a hollow space in the subject and between the subject and the external world. the Lacanian reversal of Hegel's dialectic consists not only in the overestimation of the aspects of negativity and forcefulness in it. There is still no order. the Imaginary. It is in effect as a desire for death that he affirms himself for others. from which his existence takes on all the meaning it has. The immediacy of the Imaginary is partly due to its specific "medium". 1977b. but rather result in an irrevocable disjunction and splitting of what they represent. which Lacan unhesitatingly transgresses. with regard to their significance for the formation of the subject. no protective resistances. and no being is ever evoked by him except among the shadows of death" (Lacan. Such a limit is the negativity of the subject. for he does not belong to the Cartesian tradition any more (unlike Kojève).1. do not have a synthetic and creative outcome. because it does not have any resistance.. Lacan insistently recognizes in this dialectic the Hegelian struggle for recognition and its Kojèvian reinterpretation. thus introducing a gap. It is precisely this limit. The most essential trait of the imaginary identification is best expressed by the Hegelian term . THE DIALECTICAL DIMENSIONS OF THE SUBJECT'S EXPERIENCE.immediacy. We have to note that identification and the desire for recognition have an indisputable priority over possession. To recapitulate. "So when we want to attain in the subject what was before the serial articulations of speech. It is this limit which is the point of contact and at the same time the point of separation between Lacan and Hegel (and Kojève). The Lacanian reformulation of "the fundamental identity of the particular and the universal" in Hegel's philosophy. 80). no reliable defenses. 1977a.) it is certainly psychoanalysis that provides it with its paradigm by revealing the structure in which that identity is realized as disjunctive of the subject" (Lacan. 1977a. Kojeve and Lacan . Lacan describes the main units of that articulation: the Real. and the Symbolic. we find it in death. p.the Metamorphoses of Dialectics . p. 4 Negativity.1 The dialectic of identification. This seems to be the most general feature of all the processes and relationships taking place at the level of the Imaginary. is the perfect "conductor" of desire. 2. This is why we choose to present the dialectic of the Imaginary and the Symbolic (and also of all the subsequent phenomena Lacan deals with) with regard to their identificatory dimensions. The gaze can play incessantly (and as Lacan assumes it plays at battle) with the imagos it generates. 2. there is not any complicated network of repressions. and because it can satisfy desire as quickly as possible (through an imaginative objectification).html Pagina 3 di 21 . though never entirely excluding the aspects of possession linked to these forms of individual existence. as a pure and direct discharge of the libido. over need and the demand for love related to it. if he identifies himself with the other. Lacan even elucidates the distinction between the Imaginary and the Symbolic by means of two of the figures of Hegel's Phenomenology : file:///upload/in%20lingua%20-%20verificare/LACAN%20-%20doc/ING…AN%20-%20Hegel_Kojeve_Lacan%20Folder/Hegel-Kojeve-Lacan_2. forcefulness and above all disjunctivity (the emptiness of the subject) are the indices of (the Hegelian) dialectic. which is the gaze.-Jackobsen). according to Lacan (and M. but mainly in the introduction of something quite new and non-Hegelian. and what is primordial to the birth of the symbols. the imaginary or specular immediacy of which introduces the impossibility of its satisfaction.Hegel. And that is already a paradox (certainly not the only one in Lacan): something non-(or even anti-) Hegelian becomes an index of what is properly Hegelian. The gaze also separates the desire from its object (a pole of identification). p. B. The gaze. 105).

The specificity of this other is that he jubilates while looking at the child. 1977a. 2).. the more jubilant becomes the one (the mirrored ego.) the transformation that takes place in the subject when he assumes an image(. p. 4).)". pre-genital. The only thing we will have to bear in mind is that this Hegelian reinterpretation of the sexual desire which already presupposes the anteriority of the Symbolic. The child jubilates at its reflected image also because it has been recognized by the other whom it sees in the mirror. the results of the mirror-stage justify completely the Kojèvian formula. it reshapes the infantile insufficiency into an imagined self-sufficiency of the ego.. that man's desire is a desire for the desire of the other.the mirror-stage. 1977a. This statement informs us that Lacan thinks of the mirror-stage predominantly in terms of identification and that he also regards identification not as an innocent or harmless imitation of an other. 1977a. There is also another aspect of the mirror spectacle which relates it to the struggle for recognition. serves as an axis of the psychic development of the subject.Part II: Hegel and Lacan 28/11/2006 07:34 PM "But for this desire to be satisfied in man requires that it be recognized. The mirrored ego is simultaneously itself and someone else. it makes real the unreal. The reflected jubilation of the child is a proof of its recognition by the other. On the other hand. 2). 1997a. The mirror introduces identificatory discord. therefore. p. that is as "(. p. in the symbol or in the imaginary" (Lacan. the "other") file:///upload/in%20lingua%20-%20verificare/LACAN%20-%20doc/ING…AN%20-%20Hegel_Kojeve_Lacan%20Folder/Hegel-Kojeve-Lacan_2.. The mirror-stage identification is usually associated with the child's jubilation at his image in the mirror. "We have only to understand the mirror stage as an identification (. 4). the mirror-stage generates a structure. it negates what the child really is and constructs an imagined reality.html Pagina 4 di 21 . "Thus. it enforces a sudden transfiguration.. which Lacan also refers to as co-existent to the Symbolic. a determinative manifestation of the desire for recognition 5. which in fact is the desire for recognition. which runs along the vector of identification. Kojeve and Lacan . according to Kojève and Lacan. Thus the actual self-recognition is imagined to be a recognition by an other. This simultaneity of identification and alienation constitutes the prominent dialectical "impasse" of the Imaginary. This primal mirror experience shapes the circular structure of the imaginary identification: the more jubilant is the child. which in fact intensifies the struggle for recognition. and the child-mother relationship. this Gestalt (. 2). it ascends the perception of a fragmented body to the vision of a whole body. Lacan relates the jubilation of the child to the completeness of its mirror image. It offers a recognition which appears to be a miscognition.Hegel. which captures the ego and makes it believe that it (the ego) is there (in the mirror). either supporting its continuity or disrupting it. only if man (or the object of his desire) is desired (and is therefore recognized as desirable) by the desire of another. Human desire may be satisfied. are also interpreted with view to the struggle for recognition. p. through the agreement in speech or through the struggle for prestige.. As a pattern of such a primitive ontology. Thus the "struggle for prestige" (this is a strictly Kojèvian formulation) seems to be the sole representative of what Lacan sometimes ambiguously defines as a pre-Oedipal. The mirror transforms the immaturity (which is experienced) into a maturity (which is seen). The completeness of the image compensates for the "real specific prematurity of birth in man" (Lacan. which represents the vector of possession. p.. in so far as it reduplicates desire (not only the ego but the other is also a desiring agent) and points to its real but unattainable object (the desire of the imaginary other). As a first manifestation of the struggle for recognition the mirror-stage even represents for Lacan "an ontological structure of the human world that accords with" his reflections "on paranoiac knowledge" (Lacan. We can exemplify this Hegelian-Kojèvian matrix of Lacan's conception of the Imaginary by focusing our attention on its most clear and distinct version .the Metamorphoses of Dialectics ." (Lacan. "The mirror stage is a drama whose internal thrust is precipitated from insufficiency to anticipation. at the same time as it prefigures its alienating destination" (Lacan. p. imaginary or specular dialectic. The mirror-stage is the earliest and. 1977a. These agents are the ego and its mirror doubles. For the time being we will leave aside "this desire". The mirror has a magic function.) symbolizes the mental permanence of the I. a micro-universe inhabited by paranoiac agents connected or disconnected through aggressivity or other manifestations of destructive force.. The mirror-stage provides the matrix of all subsequent imaginary identifications and represents their dialectical dynamics in its purest form. The mirror image of the child identifies and alienates the child.. The precipitation provided by the mirror has a dialectical function. The mirror-stage is an episode in the development of the child and does not cover the whole field of the Imaginary. The two basic imaginary constellations: the mirror-stage. The mirror-stage is the birth-place of desire. but that he treats it as the process which forms the subject and which imprints its own "logic" on the subject. 68). This other is the miscognized ego (moi). 1977a.)" (Lacan. It institutes a gap between the imagined and the real (the real here is not the Lacanian Real).

The ego (moi) is not an object. This stage provides the matrix of the subject's symbolic existence. Lacan analyzes the mirror-stage and the imaginary identification with an alter ego. The inappeasability of the desire for recognition is the last important aspect of the mirror-stage identification seen as a struggle for recognition. it miscognizes itself as an other and can never achieve what it expects. to alienate itself incessantly.. Borch-Jacobsen comments on this imaginary impasse of the mirror-stage: "If desire must be 'satisfied' [that is recognized] (.html Pagina 5 di 21 . It reorders the main elements of the file:///upload/in%20lingua%20-%20verificare/LACAN%20-%20doc/ING…AN%20-%20Hegel_Kojeve_Lacan%20Folder/Hegel-Kojeve-Lacan_2. These statements outline the missing element of the imaginary circle. On the other hand.. Since an imagined other can not have any desire at all. The mirror-stage identification results in a very complicated constellation of self-referential and external relations of the subject. A false way out of this identificatory circle is the rivalry between the ego and its imagined other mediated by some object.) it would not be through any recognition in a mirror (. 1991. p. 1977a. is not completely objectifiable or recognizable. It remains. The Oedipal dialectic.. however. rather. The ego can never imagine itself without the presence of the other. the "other") whose recognition makes the child so jubilant. Thus the imaginary ego works (in order to please) for its invisible master (Death). is the relation to the Absolute Master (Death). The ego desires the desire of the other. which is "nothing". the more it desires to be recognized. "In other words the pact is everywhere anterior to the violence before perpetuating it. with view to the dialectic of the Hegelian struggle for recognition.the paradigmatic roles of the symbolic order.Hegel. 1988. a desire to be oneself. however.2 The dialectic of the symbolic identification. but rather appear and disappear in the vicious circle of the Imaginary. The stakes of the imaginary struggle for recognition are "mastery" or "slavery" . The more it tries to find recognition.. do not constitute an order. and what I call the symbolic dominates the imaginary" (Lacan. The imaginary ego mediates its relation to itself as nothingness (as pure drive or desire) by the creation of imaginary others. the more jubilant becomes the one (the mirrored ego. 308). to try to escape itself.the Metamorphoses of Dialectics .. it expects to be desired by his desire. for it is above all the desire for recognition. The satisfaction of the desire for recognition is impossible not only because the imagined other does not have any autonomous desire. It. The sole functional master-slave relation within the Imaginary (including the mirrorstage)..) starting off from the order defined by the wall of language" (Lacan. The mirror experience of child arouses and sharpens its desire for recognition. however.. but is rather determined latently by it. Consequently. Lacan insistently characterizes the Oedipus complex as a dialectical formation. that is does not desire by himself. which is not anything. Kojeve and Lacan . The 'self' (. Now we focus our attention on the Oedipal stage.) Simply because the desire to be recognized (.Part II: Hegel and Lacan 28/11/2006 07:34 PM identification: the more jubilant is the child. and the analytic treatment. "The imaginary gains its false reality (. Lacan thinks of it in terms of the Hegelian dialectic of the master and the slave. This basic assumption of Jacobsen could be criticized in another context. He is nothing. According to him.. or dead. whom it expects to recognize it (the ego) as something. rearranges the imaginary constellation of identifications. and without his recognition. This initial identificatory drama forms the anticipations of the child in respect to all possible imagined others. The latter urges it to objectify.90). p. the more impossible it is to be recognized as desire. predetermines his symbolic interrelations with the others and finally constitutes the subject as a subject of speech. 2. It can never be satisfied. disputable whether it is justified to equate Death (as an Absolute Master) to the nothingness of desire. whose entire coming-intobeing is thought of in terms of the dialectic of the struggle for recognition. the other comes-into-existence 6 only as an imaginary construct of the ego. 244).1. the imaginary embodiments of which. We have to make it clear that the Oedipal stage does not suspend the imaginary identifications of the ego. is not the dialectic of the struggle for recognition. Indeed. the numerous metamorphoses of the image of the other can be viewed as attempts at selfobjectification and self-recognition of the ego. a process in which the ego tries to escape or to cover up the nothingness of its desire. for Lacan. but also because he does not have anything to desire or to recognize. the desire for his desire is in vain. Jacobsen promotes this reinterpretation of the imaginary identification. it substitutes its own desire by the imagined desire of the imagined other. He is now 'something other' than himself. Lacan very often presents various imaginary constellations in terms of the dialectic of master and slave... only in so far as the ego's want-to-be allows him to be.) of desire is not identical to himself. p. If the other desires what the ego desires then the latter's desire becomes desirable." (Jacobsen.) is not any longer. This already implies that the Imaginary does not precede the Symbolic. M.

rather. The Lacanian Other is not so much a figure which represents a law but a locus of a certain (the symbolic) function. into an unimaginable (and even ineffable) function. As a super-ego he 8 prohibits.html Pagina 6 di 21 . 29). One of the performative effects of speech and. it is more likely to be unsuccessful (on this issue. Lacan's reflections on the Oedipal stage illustrate better than anything else the relevance of Jacobsen's qualification of Lacan's theory: "a 'Freudian' rereading of Hegel" (Jacobsen. on the exemplary Oedipal identification. p. The identification with the Other is tantamount to a recognition of the Other as a master. the Oedipal stage creates an order.Hegel.it affects the direction of the desire for recognition. 7 First of all. 1977a. When we discuss the dialectic of the analytic treatment we will see how close it is to the Oedipal dialectic. The Other. which represents the invisible Other). As a source of the "symbolic law" the Other recognizes the subject by giving him a legal (symbolic) status in the symbolic order. one of the aspects of the executive function of the Other is mediation. the master mediates the subject's relations to the others. 40). is not always successful.the Metamorphoses of Dialectics . which is difficult to perform in the age of Modernity. It restructures the Imaginary. Lacan usually presents the Other as a function (and rarely and ambiguously as an image). and from the nothingness of file:///upload/in%20lingua%20-%20verificare/LACAN%20-%20doc/ING…AN%20-%20Hegel_Kojeve_Lacan%20Folder/Hegel-Kojeve-Lacan_2. p. It. from the aggressivity of the others. rearranges the imaginary constellation of identifications. The subject on his turn has to work for his master. It is a desire for the desire of the Other. therefore. 68) The transformation that takes place in the Oedipal drama is complex . see Jacobsen. the Mother and death. The Oedipal stage preserves or at least does not disrupt the continuity of the desire for recognition: " (. It reorders the main elements of the Imaginary: the ego. The failure of the Oedipal "normalization" is something which the analytic treatment tries to overcome and compensate. the referents of this desire. it is now transformed into a function representative of something invisible . The subject recognizes the Other as his master expecting to be recognized in return. through the agreement in speech or through the struggle for recognition" (Lacan. and the results of the recognition (agreement instead of rivalry). He has also an executive function. Finally. for instance. He enacts his legislation by means of signification. to the things and to death. The specular image of the other (small "o") now becomes something more than a mere appearance (the visible father. the alterego. a) The Other has an ambivalent legislative function. His labor is his speech. This transition. the Father. instead. p. Let's focus. to a credulity to his word. or better to say it reproduces an order.. The desire for recognition at the Oedipal and the post-Oedipal stage is not directed to the other (small "o") but to the Other (capital "O").Part II: Hegel and Lacan 28/11/2006 07:34 PM ego. Kojeve and Lacan .. The resolution of the Oedipal drama converts the image of the parent of the same sex. introducing the subject into it. and imprinting this order on the subject (the testimony and the source of this process is the subject's speech). however. and in so far as the modern man is concerned. 1977a. p.. while as an ego-ideal he indicates the adequate objects of desire. becomes the Name-of-the-Father. Just like the Hegelian slave. the subject is reduced to a mere tool of utterance of the discourse of the Other. as Lacan suggests. The failure of the Oedipal identification is what distorts the symbolic objectification of the subject and what intensifies the tension between the Imaginary and the Symbolic as co-existent structures of the subject.namely of the Other. The subject's desire of the desire of the Other is satisfied not by way of imaginary struggle but by way of the symbolic pact of recognition. to an obedience to his order. 1991. 23). The Other protects him from the reality of the things. Who is the Other? How does the Other come into existence? The Other is both an image (though an unimaginable one) and a function.) for this desire itself to be satisfied in man requires that it be recognized. The Other institutes the order of the permissible and the impermissible. We shall leave aside the Oedipal failure and its various reasons. and. with whom the subject is in an imaginary rivalry. Lacan thinks of it entirely in terms of the Hegelian master-slave dialectic. we have to bear in mind that the Oedipal identification is a transition from an imaginary to a symbolic identification: " (.) the Oedipal identification is that by which the subject transcends the aggressivity that is constitutive of the primary subjective identification" (Lacan. it does this in accordance with the Hegelian (and Kojèvian) dialectical pattern ..the master-slave dialectic. The Other directs the discourse and the desire of the subject through the two most general mechanisms of signification: metaphor and metonymy. but which nevertheless is the backbone of symbolic identification. b) The Other is not only a legislator. the medium of recognition (the speech replaces the gaze). which enforces the subject's obedience to the Other.

M. 1984. 149). child-speech-things.in the cases of neuroses and psychoses. Lacan's reflections on the dead master have various implications. to the Absolute Master) as: "(. The Other is always dead. In other words.. The dead Father is the sacrifice as well as the addressee of this sacrifice.. child-Other-death. that the father [forms between the subject and] the Absolute Master . His representations and functions belong to the Symbolic (the Name-of-the-Father. but as a master whose power transgresses the limits of symbolic life. and from the nothingness of death.. On the other hand the symbolic murder of the Father. Borch-Jacobsen tends to ascribe priority to this aspect of the function of the Other: "And so the 'dialectic of the Oedipal drama'. The protective function of the Other refers also to Death.1977a. and respectively enacts the absolute mastery of the Other over the indebted subject. the conscious). of the master institutes the symbolic debt of the subject to the dead master. the "locus of speech".Hegel.) the death of the father. as Kojève suggests. 94). which is both symbolic and an order): "Thus the symbol manifests itself first of all as the murder of the thing. which is one of the most polyvalent symbols in the psychoanalytic myth about the Oedipus complex. which already implies that the dead Master. The first is that the dead master does not belong to the Real or even to the Imaginary (he is scarcely visible or imaginable).that is death" (Lacan. with the Mother and the external objects. with its classically triangular structure..html Pagina 7 di 21 . the symbolic Other always transcends the Imaginary or the Symbolic of the individual subjects and performs its function as a transsubjective or even intersubjective agency of signification and symbolic power. 199). The symbolic Other is never completely imaginable or utterable. 94). not as a function). which is what he sees in the form of a specular image. 1988. is felt by the subject as the disappearance (. He is first of all the symbolic Other. and at the same time he threatens with death. and which is extended over the still non-existent and over the already non-existent. 1991. Anyway the dead master.Part II: Hegel and Lacan 28/11/2006 07:34 PM Other protects him from the reality of the things. This is why Lacan insists on an adequate interpretation of the place and the function of the Other in the file:///upload/in%20lingua%20-%20verificare/LACAN%20-%20doc/ING…AN%20-%20Hegel_Kojeve_Lacan%20Folder/Hegel-Kojeve-Lacan_2. This is a strictly psychoanalytical reversal of the Kojèvian idea of the negativity of death. Its symbolic representatives or imaginary appearances are never complete. in so far as he signifies this law. Lacan concludes that: "the symbolic Father is. p. whenever it occurs. p. The death of the Other is neither real nor natural.. Unlike the latter who is a master of a slave. the protective shield in various symbolic triads: child-Father-Mother.) the fruitful moment of debt through which the subject binds himself to the law".) of that shield of intervention. since he is the absolute condition which makes a discourse possible. and who. or substitution. from the aggressivity of the others. The Other represents the most impossible of all syntheses .. Lacan defines the murder of the Father (and his sublimation to the Name-of-the-Father. 104). is subordinate to the absolute master (Death) just as the slave is (in fact death mediates the superiority of the master over the slave). p. 94). and is not a master of himself. 1958. The Other is the mediating term. which is at the same time a normalization and a pacification of the subject's relationships with the others. quoted from Jacobsen. childFather-others. becomes confused in him with the image of death" (Lacan. in joint progress. It is an imagined or symbolic and forcible death.the Metamorphoses of Dialectics . the dead Father" (Lacan. was nothing but a defense intended to occult the undialecticizable 'fourth element' that is death" (Jacobsen. usurps the function of death and becomes an absolute master: "(. We can add furthermore that it is exactly the specificity of the defense against death. Kojeve and Lacan . the Other. 1977a. which are the only modalities of life and death possibly accessible to humans). instituted by the Other. p. "This image of the master. 1991.that of Life and Death . is achieved through the mediation of the Other (of the Symbolic order. from the other and from the object" (Lacan. the Lacanian symbolic master is identifiable with death (as a representation. With view to all preceding reflections on the Other we can say that the Other is the all-encompassing agency (the Other is not entirely symbolic) of Death and Life (of symbolic Death and Life. the Other rules and acts even where the Symbolic has been disrupted or rejected . Through the Oedipal identification (if it is successful) the "ego differentiates itself. which distinguishes the symbolic Other from the Hegelian master. This splitting of the imaginary immediacy.which already defines him not only as a legislator of the living and speaking subjects. p. and this death constitutes in the subject the eternalization of his desire" (Lacan. p. Following Freud's analyses on the genesis of the feeling of guilt.

just because the return to the Imaginary will not be able to overcome the splitting of the subject. 305). simply because unlike the Hegelian "real" or limited master. 1991. This is why Lacan insists on an adequate interpretation of the place and the function of the Other in the numerous failures of the Oedipal identification. The subject of discourse will not be able to regain his true reality in the image. p. We have to know who the Other is. While Kojève emphasizes the negativity of labor.) in discourse the subject experiences his lack of being. because the Imaginary is also an order of representations which makes impossible a direct access to the subject's being. 1977a. therefore. we shall illustrate this dialectic by two examples. Lacan focuses on the negativity of the Other. which interfere with each other by way of substitution. that this field is reflected exclusively in this structure" (Lacan. quoted from Lacan. This negativity is imprinted on the subject of speech (the slave). Despite of its displacements and rejections. experienced in the Symbolic. In some way or another. We can not examine such a great number of problems. Their co-existence. file:///upload/in%20lingua%20-%20verificare/LACAN%20-%20doc/ING…AN%20-%20Hegel_Kojeve_Lacan%20Folder/Hegel-Kojeve-Lacan_2. It threatens the identity of the subject (better to say that it ruins this unity). the subject of discourse may try to reidentify himself with an image.html Pagina 8 di 21 . speech or death. The self is represented for itself by a set of signifiers: "(. Kojeve and Lacan . repression or foreclosure. p. a function of the Imaginary" (Lemaire. to use Hegel's term against him. and is often undistinguishable from the negativity of desire. p. in which we can recognize the symbolic emergence of the imaginary struggle to the death in which we earlier defined the essential structure of the ego: it is hardly surprising. the Other still retains his absolute mastery: "The Other as a previous site of the pure subject of the signifier holds the master position. the Lacanian Other is (signifies) an absolute Master. as an absolute Master" (Lacan. that holds the master position in the master-slave structure of the Symbolic order: "The concrete field of individual preservation is structured in this dialectic of master and slave. social or symbolic dialectic depends entirely on Him. Therefore. 73). Both of the elements of the master-slave relationship are sources of negativity: the mastery of the master and the labor of the slave. she indicates that the accession of the subject to the Symbolic results in one of the subsequent splittings of the subject. A splitting which lasts as long as the subject resides in the Symbolic.Part II: Hegel and Lacan 28/11/2006 07:34 PM psychoses. then. There is no pure Symbolic and no pure Imaginary..Hegel.3 The dialectic of the Imaginary and the Symbolic The Imaginary and the Symbolic are not only stages in the psychical maturation of the subject. "The drama of the subject in the verb is that he faces the test of his lack of being. We have seen in the preceding subsection that the Symbolic and the Imaginary are mutually exclusive. has to take place predominantly in the modes of negativity. The question is which is superior and in what way.. even before coming into existence.9 We have all good reasons to assume that the dialectic of the symbolic identification is centered around the negativity of the Other. 72. most of the mental deviations psychoanalysis deals with are related to the dialectic of the Imaginary and the Symbolic. Confronted with a symbolic lack of being. forcefulness and destructiveness. 1991.1. This is the splitting between the reality of the subject and its representation. which are the indices of the dialectical for Lacan. The Symbolic institutes itself only at the expense of the Imaginary. order and structure of the Oedipal. in order to grasp the various revolts against Him that are implicit in most of the psychical disorders. as he is no more than represented in discourse. In Chapter VI. It is because it fends off this moment of lack that an image moves into position to support the whole worth of desire: projection. The dialectics of this whole process consists in the fact that the symbolic alienation induces an even sharper imaginary alienation.the Metamorphoses of Dialectics . Moreover the priority of the synchronic over the diachronic perspective in Lacan's psychoanalysis implies that the co-existence of the Imaginary and the Symbolic is of primary importance for Lacan. We have analyzed the dialectic of the Oedipal identification only in regard to one of its elements: the master. Lacan also regards them as co-existent components of the psyche. p. 1991). 2. 1977a. 1966). may find the homogeneity he strives after in his imaginary constructs. 142). and the whole dynamics. just as his desire is no more than represented there" (Lemaire. Our first example comes out of Anika Lemaire's monography on Lacan (Lemaire. The symbolic lack of being leads to an ever greater lack of being.

verworfen. 1982. does not draw a clear distinction between a healthy and pathogenic reaction to the symbolic lack of being. and needs can not be satisfied if demand is frustrated. is precisely the substitution of the signifier by the signified (the symbol is assumed to be a thing). 2. The symbol is imagined to be the thing.1 The emergence of desire. which is a want-tohave one particular object or another (the source of pleasure). The impossibility to satisfy the child's demand for love results in an impossibility to have its needs satisfied. must be called into symbolic opposition to the subject" (Lacan. It is almost impossible for us to reconstruct a coherent doctrine. The foreclosure of the Name-of-the-Father is precipitated by a crucial restructuring of the Oedipal triad: Fatherchild-Mother.the foreclosure of the Name-of-the-Father. We have examined just two of the manifestations of the dialectic of the Imaginary and the Symbolic. when the mother instead of being subordinate to the father. In psychosis. for demand can not be satisfied unless the satisfaction of need appears as a proof of the Mother's love. It is a radical break through of the Imaginary into the Symbolic. The division between need and demand forms a vicious circle.2 The dialectic of desire Desire is the most important factor in the dynamics of the negativity of the subject. the Name-of-the-Father. it is a really dialectical substitution of the Symbolic by the Imaginary. Psychosis is one of the possible reversals of what Lacan defines as a "phallocentric dialectic" (Mitchell. its love" (Lacan. The important thing for us to know is that such a significant interrelation like the one between the Imaginary and the Symbolic is structured dialectically in the sense of reflecting the dialectical figures of the struggle for prestige and the master-slave relationship. What follows is that the want-to-have can not be satisfied neither by the objects of need. unless it is sure of the love of the mother. who believes the symbol to be something real.html Pagina 9 di 21 . It is absolutely impossible to satisfy demand. The Symbolic acquires an imaginary function for the psychotic. never having attained the place of the Other. 2. The foreclosure of the Name-of-the-Father distorts the function of the Symbolic which is to mediate between the subject and the thing. the Symbolic is converted into an Imaginary. to the point at which the level is reached at which signifier and signified are stabilized in the delusional metaphor" (Lacan. 286).the Metamorphoses of Dialectics . who provides their satisfaction for him.Part II: Hegel and Lacan 28/11/2006 07:34 PM Lemaire. It appears that the satisfaction of needs depends on the satisfaction of demand. 1977a. Apart from this it is not a partial repression of a chain of signifiers by an image (such is the case in our first example). The child can not satisfy its thirst and hunger. "For psychosis to be triggered off. There is no longer a distinction between the symbol and the thing.2. Kojeve and Lacan . 286). 1977a. We can not view them all. The genesis of psychosis is associated with an event taking place at the Oedipal stage . Psychosis is a state of "a-symbolization" (the symbol is considered to be a thing) and of oversymbolization (all things become meaningful). and that its overcoming advances along the vector of metonymy in speech. sets off the cascade of reshapings of the signifier from which the increasing disaster of the imaginary proceeds. instead of recognizing him as the Other. we shall try to examine the negativity of desire in respect to its emergence and unfolding. which overlaps with the dialectic of the unconscious and the dialectic (the negativity) of speech. and which is a want-to-have the Other (the Mother) or "that which the Other does not have. In other words the foreclosure of the Name-of-the-Father presupposes a replacement of the masterslave relationship between the two parents by a struggle for recognition between them. nor by the object of demand. on the dialectic of desire. in Lacan. "It is the lack of the Name-of-the-Father in that place which. p. There are certainly many others. namely. by the hole it opens up in the signified. which "constitutes the Other as already possessing the 'privilege' of satisfying needs" (Lacan. it does not change its content but its function. fights against him. 1977a. Nevertheless. It is possible to satisfy need. however. that is to say. which enforces and maintains its permanent dissolution. Our second example of a dialectic of the Imaginary and the Symbolic is taken from Lacan's conception of psychosis. Desire emerges as a result of the sublation of need by demand. She also does not take into account the fact that the symbolic lack of identity has a normative value in Lacan's theory. 217). 93). The "delusional metaphor" Lacan refers to. p. p. Being dispossessed of its symbolic function. Such a restructuring takes place when the two parents fight against each other for the love of their child. p. the symbol can hardly be called a symbol any more. foreclosed. 217). 1977a.Hegel. p. file:///upload/in%20lingua%20-%20verificare/LACAN%20-%20doc/ING…AN%20-%20Hegel_Kojeve_Lacan%20Folder/Hegel-Kojeve-Lacan_2.

identification/recognition (desire). p. 1977a. 199). The impossibility of the want-to-have is replaced by the necessity of the want-tobe. 311). Speech negates and posits the individuality and the identity of the individual. According to us.possession (demand).. p. This "revolt" of desire is another aspect of its dialectic. The Other is the locus of speech and that implies that its desire unfolds as speech. 1977a). It unfolds itself as a transindividual want-to-be. brings to light the want-to-be. which is a supra-individual agency. 264). which is superior. In accordance with the Lacanian dialectical code. together with the appeal to receive the complement from the Other" (Lacan.2 The unfolding of desire The whole dialectic of desire spins around the overthrowing of every filling-in of the gap it is.. 1991. The desire of man unfolds by means of the mechanisms of language . Thus the negativity of desire almost coincides with the negativity of speech in Lacan's theory. Speech. and in any case supraindividual symbols or identifications. and who can do so by perpetually negating himself in them. On the other hand. There is a qualitative difference between demand and desire. We can not be sure what the "desire of the Other" is. 1977a. does not belong to a particular subject.html Pagina 10 di 21 . but the difference that results from the substraction of the first from the second.desire as a lack. p. 265). 2. An essential advantage of the want-to-be over the want-to-have. therefore. "Thus desire is neither the appetite for satisfaction. desire finds its expression in speech. "Desire begins to take shape in the margin in which demand becomes separated from need" (Lacan. p. the phenomenon of their splitting (Spaltung)" (Lacan. which makes its satisfaction possible. as an order of representations. in articulating the signifying chain. "Desire is that which is manifested in the interval that demand hollows within itself in as much as the subject.11 It is better. p. The same holds for the desire of man. accommodates most naturally the want-to-be of the subject. which is universal. Desire is: "(.2. if desire is to remain what it is: the pure negativity of a subject who desires himself in his objects. desire can not really have any object at all. Respectively desire can never be an individual desire. not so much because of the negation (of need by demand) it comes from. Lacan's most prominent formula on desire is that "man's desire is the desire of the Other" (Lacan. Lacan tries to articulate the questions posed by the desire of the Other in his article The subversion of the subject (Lacan. Speech does not share the finitude of desire.. desire is deployed mainly in the Symbolic. p.the Metamorphoses of Dialectics . At the same time it makes its satisfaction impossible because it does not strive after something (as desire does). 1977a. to interpret the formulation "man's desire is the desire of the Other" in regards to the "how" of the Other's desire. 1977a.Part II: Hegel and Lacan 28/11/2006 07:34 PM The unappeasability of the want-to-have leaves plenty of room to the child's want-to-be to unfold 10. It is exactly in this formula where we can grasp the meaning of what Lacan defines as a "dialectic of desire". as a representative of the want-to-be.by means of speech.) the mark of the iron of the signifier on the shoulder of the speaking subject" (Lacan. oriented to various cultural or social. however. speech cannot be desire because unlike desire it does not have a teleological structure. 1977a. over the Imaginary. It follows. because speech.metaphor and metonymy. Desire is not absorbed peacefully in speech but rather tries to escape it . It is not surprising at all that for Lacan desire operates mainly at the level of the unconscious. it is clear. Metaphor uncovers file:///upload/in%20lingua%20-%20verificare/LACAN%20-%20doc/IN…AN%20-%20Hegel_Kojeve_Lacan%20Folder/Hegel-Kojeve-Lacan_2.. the emergence of desire may be viewed as a dialectical one. Speech. however. not so much because of their objects (they may have a common object like the Phallus) but because of their modes of reference to them . "In the Lacanian doctrine. which explains the priority of the vector of identification over that of possession in Lacan's psychoanalysis. as an order of meaningful representations. only mediates and alienates desire. Desire maintains its gap-like structure in its unfolding in the Symbolic.263). that desire is trapped in the "defiles of the signifier". but because of the outcome of that negation . That is why.Hegel. Kojeve and Lacan . 287). then. by negating them as what he is not (?)" (Jacobsen. is that it is directed to the representations (imaginary or symbolic) of what the want-to-have fails to achieve. nor the demand for love. It is rather the individual who is subjected to speech in so far as it is represented in it.

45). The dialectic of desire. or as the "sole master" (Lacan. This already implies that the dialectic of the analytic cure involves some of the dialectical figures and functions mentioned so far. p. structures the unfolding of the subject's want-to-be. 1982. p. 1977a. p.) in which the role of the logos is joined with the advent of desire" (Lacan. Lacan defines the analyst as a "pure dialectician" (Mitchell. in Lacan's doctrine.) interventions. The "initial knot of the analytic drama" is the negative transference of the patient. p. The dialectic of the treatment concerns the psychoanalytic conception of intersubjectivity. The sliding of speech never stops. The analyst does not deal with the history of the patient conceived of as something real. Metonymy ["man's desire is a metonymy" (Lacan. 1977a.3 The dialectic of the analytic treatment The analytic cure is a multi-dimensional phenomenon. Through metonymy. that the "phallocentric dialectic". He has to suspend his interventions. of speech. which "represents in the patient the imaginary transference on to our person of one of the more or less archaic imagos" (Lacan. According to Lacan. respectively. p. The analyst has to have such a freedom just because the target of his actions is not a reality outside his concrete relationship with a particular patient. it is a case. 228). The negative transference appears to be a hindrance to the successful progress of the cure. of the annihilating signifier.. Kojeve and Lacan . The most important aspect of this dialectic is that it goes beyond what is purely subjective in analysis. "But we analysts have to deal with slaves who think they are masters. 2. and the bonds of its ambiguity" (Lacan. the Phallus represents both desire and its insatiability. 1977a. which is a manifestation of the want-to-be. 1977a. Its overcoming evokes an essential change in the strategy of the analyst. it illustrates the power of the Other. Nevertheless. p. p. According to Lacan the mastery of the analyst consists in the fact that he is: "(.1. therefore. The neutrality of the analyst requires a justification. In fact. The encounter between the analyst and the analysand does not simply result in a one-dimensional master-slave relationship. 14).) always free in the timing.html Pagina 11 di 21 . the attention of the analyst: "is certainly not directed towards an object beyond the subject's speech" (Lacan. 175)]. It can be said.. This dialectic can be summarized by the paradoxical formulation: desire. being trapped in discourse. 81). and at the same time. the constant sliding from one signifier to another. Its particular meaning depends on the concrete function or aspect of the treatment that is being emphasized in one case or another. the barrier to its own satisfaction. Respectively. the task of the treatment. They..c). Speech offers the subject an infinitude of identifications all of which are centered around the symbolic Phallus.. It rather advances along the axes of the Imaginary and the Symbolic of both the analyst and the analysand. the dialectic of the treatment is a polyvalent concept. which definitely goes beyond the Kojèvian conception of the negativity of speech (more on this in 3. The patient. p.Part II: Hegel and Lacan 28/11/2006 07:34 PM desire as a symptom. however. is.1977a. there are aspects common to all cases: the structure. each of the two main participants in the treatment follows a specific dialectical trajectory. is based upon the negativity of speech. but is confronted with its imaginary or symbolic reactualization in the process of the treatment. The want-to-be of desire can not be satisfied by the what-is-said in speech. This relationship revolves around certain imaginary or symbolic identifications of the analysand revived by the phenomenon of transference. speech reduces the subject who speaks to that which is in-between two signifiers. are not the only participants in it. and which emerges as a result of their connection. the participants. is represented as the slave (of more than one master). 228) of the analytic treatment. 1977a. the treatment is always concrete. 287). a) Who takes part in the treatment? The analyst and the patient play the key roles in the treatment.the Metamorphoses of Dialectics .Hegel.. "The only object that is within the analyst's reach is the imaginary relation that links him to the subject qua ego". which Lacan does not define any further.. 1977a." (Lacan. "The Phallus is the privileged signifier (. and who find in a language whose mission is universal the support of their servitude. or at least revise their tactics. The reason for this is that the treatment does not involve anything real. frequency and choice of (. and respectively the insatiability of desire never diminishes. file:///upload/in%20lingua%20-%20verificare/LACAN%20-%20doc/IN…AN%20-%20Hegel_Kojeve_Lacan%20Folder/Hegel-Kojeve-Lacan_2. 72). precisely because the what-is-said is a function of a constantly increasing number of signifiers. According to the particular problem it has to solve. is interrelated with the dialectic of desire and probably with a possible dialectic of demand which is a manifestation of the want-to-have. it represents the prohibition to identify with it.

b) Lacan characterizes the process of the treatment as a labor performed by the patient and directed (managed) by the analyst. he makes death present" (Lacan. 'the evil that weighs me down.) we wish to avoid the trap that already lies concealed in the appeal. he rediscovers the fundamental alienation that made him construct like another. There is another almost Hegelian justification of the nonintervention of the analyst. as acts which interrupt the imaginary or symbolic continuity of the delusion of the analysand. 13). the other/Other. p. "For in this labor which he undertakes to reconstruct for another. The analyst willingly alienates himself. the "dummy". p..) this non-action of the analyst is founded on our firm and stated knowledge of the principle that all that is real is rational. and the dialectical multiplication of the participants in the treatment: the analysand. and "the emergence of the subject from the transference is thus postponed ad infinitum" (Lacan. 1977a.. p. His aim is to drag the patient out of his transferential delusion.. This depersonalization reduplicates the analyst. detached from any particular motive that lies the junction between the symbolic and the real (..the Metamorphoses of Dialectics . is an element of reality in analysis. 95) of that discourse. "(.. pretending to be a "dummy". or by annulling his own resistance when he is the other with a small "o". p..) we efface ourselves (. Moreover Lacan equates paradoxically the intervention and the nonintervention of the analyst.. p. that the patient addresses to us. Kojeve and Lacan . He has to neutralize the transference by making use of it. In other words. It carries a secret within itself. the projected image is also dead and the patient will be able to reabsorb it as what it really is . The rivalry with the images (or symbols) projected onto the figure of the analyst will thus be overcome by a possible self-recognition of the analysand in the "mirror" of the impartial analyst. 'Take upon yourself' the patient is telling us. 229). The analyst's neutrality will lead to "the subject's assumption of his own mirages" (Lacan. Even such a simplistic representation of the reaction against the transference uncovers the dialectical figures of rivalry.) we become depersonalized (. and. 1977a. you won't be worthy or bearing it" (Lacan. More exactly. 1977a. but he is doing so in order to introduce the fourth player who is to be the partner of the analysand here" (Lacan.. marked by the eternal pathos of faith.that is. 1977a. The mastery of the analyst is in the art of playing skillfully with his freedom to intervene. 1977a.) the analyst is bringing to his aid what in bridge is called the dummy (le mort). and re-formulate its meaning.. and on the resulting precept that it is up to the subject to show what he is made of" (Lacan.html Pagina 12 di 21 . at a rearrangement which eventually can change the direction and displace the accents of that discourse. Trying to counteract the transference of his patient: "(... then his words "will still be heard as coming from the Other of the transference". 42). the analyst. a construct of his imagination. Another aspect of the "dialectical" "rectification" of the subject concerns the intervention of the analyst and the timing of analysis.) the analyst intervenes concretely in the dialectic of analysis by pretending he is dead (.) either by his silence when he is the Other with a capital "O". If the analyst plays a dummy.Hegel... 97). p. mastery and servitude that are at work in it. his refusal to reply. 140). "(.. which reveals how deeply imprinted and how well disguised some basic Hegelian concepts are in Lacan's thinking. but if you remain smug. the discourse of analysis is the discourse of the analysand.. therefore. 1977a. and which has always destined it to be taken from him by another"(Lacan. 231). 1977a. self-satisfied. p. The very counteraction of the analyst is of a dialectical nature.Part II: Hegel and Lacan 28/11/2006 07:34 PM "(. unruffled as you are now. p. The intervention of the analyst aims at a restructuring of the patient's discourse. 1977a. 43). it is in this negativity in so far as it is a pure negativity .an image. Lacan presents both of these functions as forms of negativity.) the analyst's abstention.. file:///upload/in%20lingua%20-%20verificare/LACAN%20-%20doc/IN…AN%20-%20Hegel_Kojeve_Lacan%20Folder/Hegel-Kojeve-Lacan_2. If he is active or in any way responsive to the imaginary demand of the patient. In either case. The role of the analyst is to introduce the "dialectical punctuation" (Lacan. There can not be a more resourceful allusion to the master-slave relationship reproduced in. and under the respective effects of the symbolic and the imaginary.

therefore. but that-he-is-talking. Psychoanalysis. he can remain at a distance from the content of his speech. and has to develop a dialogue technique adjusted to its peculiar purpose. which allows "the signifiers in which his frustration is bound up to reappear" (Lacan. beyond what he tells us of himself. therefore. LACAN'S ALTERNATIVE RE-INTERPRETATIONS OF THE HEGELIAN DIALECTICAL FIGURES VIEWED SO FAR. 255).) the advent of a true speech and the realization by the subject of his history in his relation to a future" (Lacan. is a dialectical venture. stress a basic assumption of Lacan. speech). must surely. therefore. to reveal the vanity of the patient's search for truth and truth itself.. p. and his real position (of servitude) in regards to the Other. He will hear not so much what he-is-talking-about. It is a reabsorption of all his mirages and fantasies.not because it says nothing.and. The dialectic of empty and full speech in Lacan's psychoanalysis has been studied by M. because the dialectic of the treatment may also be related to the ancient Greek idea of dialectics. 137-145). "The fact that a dialectical conception of psychoanalysis has to be presented as an orientation peculiar to my thinking.Hegel. p. 1982. p. p. Kojeve and Lacan . the self-evident fact that it deals solely with words" (Mitchell. which is the art to reach the truth of something (of a metaphysical problem) in a dialogue. I am the nothingness situated between the elements of that language. It is a transition from an unconscious state of servitude to a false master into a conscious state of servitude to a real one. or it simply reorders the chain of signifiers in order to indicate the keysignifiers. we introduce him into the language of his desire. p. 138). His view on empty speech is that: "speech remains desperately 'empty' .that is as the one who is in so far as he speaks about himself and the others. 1977a. but also because it operates solely with words (and not with real entities). because its unstoppable babbling fills . I am nothing beyond language. 63).. 88). and of the subject as the medium (and the referent) of the unconscious. The therapeutic effect of the "dummy".the Metamorphoses of Dialectics . Thus. but on the contrary. The success of the analytic cure. It is a recognition of the IT. may be sought also in the fact that the patient may recognize the nothingness he himself is in the frozen face of the analyst (he will see that detached from his speech he will be just as dead [a nothingness] as the silent analyst). by the same token. 1977a.Part II: Hegel and Lacan 28/11/2006 07:34 PM structuring the analytic treatment itself. file:///upload/in%20lingua%20-%20verificare/LACAN%20-%20doc/IN…AN%20-%20Hegel_Kojeve_Lacan%20Folder/Hegel-Kojeve-Lacan_2. Ambiguously. into the primary language in which. 81). It uncovers something underrepresented so far. The subject is supposed to arrive at the conclusion: 'I am what I say I am. that is. comes out of the reconciliation of the analysand with his real master (the Other). the goal of analysis is: "(. This true. The most important effect of full speech is that it makes the speaking subject aware of himself as a subject of speech . he must be able to bring the patient closer to his truth by means of a specific strategy in the dialogue with him. representing the desire of the analysand. not only because of the Hegelian structures involved in it. Correspondingly. p. that is. The analyst must be an experienced dialectician.the void of the subject" (Jacobsen. Through the silence of the analyst the patient can hear himself talking. The recovery of the patient is possible only if he recognizes the real place and function of the Other (language. 3. that is to say. he is already talking to us unknown to himself" (Lacan. Lacan's negativistic acknowledgement of this background dimension of the dialectic of the analytic cure is quite unambiguous. These Jacobsenian reflections on the outcome of the treatment do not necessarily match with Lacan's conception on it. The labor of the patient is a regression back into his past. speaking through the subject. 1991. "In order to free the subject's speech. and may be able to experience his authentic emptiness as a subject erased by the signifier. however. indicate a failure to recognize an immediate given. which is absolutely unattainable. free or full speech (as opposed to the empty or "imaginary" talk of the patient) tells the analysand something unknown but determinative of his own discourse. What is the desired outcome of the patient's labor? Certainly it is not his "freedom" or the reappropriation of his "true" self. between the signifiers of my speech'. or if the analyst is as an experienced dialectician as Socrates is. These are some of the aspects of what Lacan ambiguously defines as a dialectic of the treatment. Borch-Jacobsen (1991. occults .html Pagina 13 di 21 . The labor of the patient does not bring him closer to his freedom. LACAN'S REFERENCES TO OTHER DIALECTICAL FIGURES OF THE PHENOMENOLOGY. They. 1977a.

the language and the speaking subject. Here Lacan does not regard the master and the slave. also casts some light on the outcome of the masterslave conflict. b. 2 A purely psychoanalytical reformulation of the master-slave dialectic. or the neurotic (the obsessional) and the Other. The five Kojèvian modes of negativity adopted by Lacan do not appear in his writings in the well-articulated form in which we have presented them. 99). which appears interwoven with the negativity of desire. but the ego and the Father. and finally through the intersubjectivity of the analytic cure. 3.. and.language). who occupy interchangeable social roles. This passage from Lacan's article on aggressivity.) From the conflict of the Master and Slave. 1977a. 3 Lacan offers us even a more radical re-interpretation of the master-slave dialectic. 1977a. file:///upload/in%20lingua%20-%20verificare/LACAN%20-%20doc/IN…AN%20-%20Hegel_Kojeve_Lacan%20Folder/Hegel-Kojeve-Lacan_2.Part II: Hegel and Lacan 28/11/2006 07:34 PM We have already examined all those problems in Lacan's psychoanalytical theory related to the dissolution of the subject in an imaginary rivalry or a symbolic servitude. he deduced the entire subjective and objective progress of our history (. or the mother and the father of the psychotic. he also knows that the master can die. whether expressed in the sterile tyranny of the master or in the productive tyranny of labor" (Lacan. which provides him with "(. in effect. before the absolute Master that is given to him in death. b. "Hegel had provided the ultimate theory of the proper function of aggressivity in human ontology (.html Pagina 14 di 21 . as the poles of the Symbolic order . it is also promulgated on a radical negation of natural values. or merely evaporates before the absolute master (which. p. The negativity of desire. 1977. As a matrix of "primary alienation" (Lacan. in the uncertainty of the moment when the master will die. "In fact the obsessional subject manifests one of the attitudes that Hegel did not develop in his dialectic of the master and the slave. Such is the ultra-negativistic standpoint on the master-slave relationship. through speech and desire. is the master-slave relationship.. persistently followed by Lacan. whenever he refers to this Hegelian figure. 1 The master-slave dialectic as an ontological model. in the conflict of the Master and Slave. which is possible only if what Lacan means here as a master is the particular master (the Father. and this is what matters for the psychoanalyst interested in the structure of the subject's splitting. In this particular case the master-slave conflict does not represent the pacification of the subject in the Symbolic. just as this same conflict explains social revolution for Kojève. a) The struggle for recognition (or prestige). according to Kojève. struggle. 1977b. If. p.the Metamorphoses of Dialectics . 212) the master-slave relationship represents the inevitable division or splitting of the human subject (of both the master and the slave).Hegel. speech and death is very often only alluded to or supplies certain theoretical reflections with a context of a higher order (more universal and philosophical). The negativity of death (which. as real human subjects. language or the symbolic law). In respect to their alienation the master and the slave are equal. From this moment on he is able to accept his laboring for the master and his renunciation of pleasure in the meantime.. it is the recognition of man by man that is involved. depriving the master of his mastery. p. as he usually does.) Here the natural individual is regarded as nothingness. speech or death. It is also impossible for us to uncover all their connotations and metaphorical reversals. in which the "human subject" is reduced to a "nothingness". The satisfaction of human desire is possible only when mediated by the desire and labor of the other. it accounts here for the function of aggressivity viewed from an ontological perspective (that is as a constituting structure of man's existence). since the human subject is nothingness. 212). mastery (of the Other). in Lacan's doctrine.. But since he knows that he is mortal... b. 26). We shall focus now on the more significant alternative references of Lacan to the Phenomenology of Spirit. which designates the imaginary identification of the subject (the ego). The slave has given way in face of the risk of death in which mastery was being offered to him in a struggle of pure prestige. Kojeve and Lacan .) a legitimate justification for the term alienating vel" (Lacan. is the ultimate form of negativity in Hegel's dialectic) here plays a central role. may be death. p. b) The most widely spread and most polysemantic Hegelian dialectical figure Lacan refers to. here he views them ontologically. the psychoanalyst) and not the universal master (the universal Other .1 Alternative re-interpretations of the Hegelian dialectical figures viewed so far. he waits" (Lacan. may alter its permanent designation if the participants in it are not the ego and its imaginary double.

. in Lacan's theory.. b. see Phenomenology of Spirit. p. depriving of his victory the master whom he abandons to his inhuman solitude" (Lacan. that is not at the disposal of the subject in re-establishing the continuity of his conscious discourse" (Lacan. 104). sender and receiver coincide (the analysand speaks about himself. into the disappearance of the sender (or receiver) of this speech. the sacrifice and suicide. This negation is not merely a substitution of the real referent of speech by its verbal representation. 1977a. Thanks to his linguistic background Lacan also re-thinks the negation inherent to speech. For if Hegel shows us that the status of the master is established in the struggle to the death of pure prestige. p.) we will see that the alienation of the master is structured in exactly the same way. for just like him Lacan assumes that death is the utmost manifestation of negative freedom. is the emergence and the functioning of the unconscious. related to the negativity of speech. "The unconscious is that part of the concrete discourse. 1977) standpoint on the negativity of speech: "(. in sofar as it is transindividual. is primarily oriented toward the subject of speech. between the various signifiers representing the subject. evidently determine three forms of negativity undermining the self. The most prominent formulations of Lacan about the unconscious are that it is "structured like a language" (Lacan. Lacan extends this conception of the negativity of speech beyond the mere disappearance of the referent of speech (of the thing referred to by speech). 126). 58-66.) the symbol manifests itself first of all as the murder of the thing (. 198).and of the suicidal renunciation of the vanquished partner. negates the thing it represents.the Metamorphoses of Dialectics . 147).)" (Lacan. that the "unconscious is the sum of the effects of speech on a subject (. of the freedom to negate oneself. which is that speech mediates and. Being a discourse beyond the cognition of the subject. 1977b. Another Lacanian theme. It is impossible to bring out and decipher all those allusions and metaphors. p. A single signifier does not represent anything. 193). which does not only mediate (between the subject of speech and the referent of speech) but constitutes its own referents/senders/receivers in the void which it itself turns them into. it is because it is to bring his choice through death that the master also constitutes his fundamental alienation" (Lacan. "Man's freedom is entirely inscribed within the constituting triangle of the renunciation that he imposes on the desire of the other by the menace of death for the enjoyment of the fruits of his serfdom . This extension comes out of the fact that he reflects on analytic speech. For whom? not for another subject. This basic Lacanian conviction accords with Hegel's view on the negativity of language and speech. between the conscious and unconscious discourse of the subject.. c) The negativity of speech and language. 1977b. which. As an effect of speech the unconscious is structured like a language (through metaphor and metonymy). 1977a. and is considered by Lacan as a "gap" (hollowed out by repression). 49).)" (Lacan. p. p. without changing their dialectical structure. Kojeve and Lacan . he decides. It widens and deepens the gap that the conscious subject of speech is.I. mainly by way of allusions and metaphors. It does so only when related to another signifier..Hegel. in the silence of the analyst. p. no freedom without life . replace their ontological meaning with a plentitude of nonontological (or even poetic) designations. A. Lacan is aware of this more limited (the verbal representation negates only the sensible external things. but is rather between its signifiers (it is an effect of their interrelations).. but for another signifier" (Lacan. p.life remains for ever deprived of freedom (. The three modes of appearance of death in the quoted text: the menace of death. p. The most file:///upload/in%20lingua%20-%20verificare/LACAN%20-%20doc/IN…AN%20-%20Hegel_Kojeve_Lacan%20Folder/Hegel-Kojeve-Lacan_2. transforming him into something other than what he really is through the negativities of slavery.Part II: Hegel and Lacan 28/11/2006 07:34 PM "When the slave is confronted with the choice of his freedom or his life. 1977a. p. 1977a. Many of the psychoanalytical problems spin around the negativity of speech. This passage also uncovers the decisive influence of Kojève.of the consented to sacrifice of his life for the reasons that give to human life its measure ... Lacan refers to the master-slave dialectic as well as to the other Hegelian figures employed by him. 219). It is a dissolution of the referent/sender/receiver of (analytic) speech into a nothingness. where referent. between the Imaginary and the Symbolic. of the freedom not to be what one is. or as a "discontinuity" of repressed imaginary and symbolic elements "at all points homologous with what occurs at the level of the subject" (Lacan. p. the unconscious plays an essential role in the negativity of speech in Lacan's theory.. 4 Thanks to his suggestive and enigmatic style of speaking and writing. 1977a. that "the unconscious is the discourse of the Other" (Lacan. hears his own speech).html Pagina 15 di 21 . The referent/sender/receiver of speech is not any more behind its signifier. 1977b. mastery and the desperate (self-destructive) revolt. by mediating. An example of such an allusive and metaphorical reference to Hegel's master-slave dialectic can show us how well disguised and how deeply rooted it is in the Lacanian discourse. "A signifier is that which represents a subject. 1977a. 24). Speech hollows out the subject of discourse as the gap between what the subject is and what the subject says he is. 104). and.

Similar references to the dialectic of the belle âme may be found on p. 1982. Lacan's scarce references to the dialectic of the belle âme relate this figure of the Phenomenology of Spirit either to the structure of neurosis. It institutes and guarantees the pact between the slave (the subject) and his master (the Other). Kojeve and Lacan . 1988. Though a polyvalent concept.. Lacan also relates the dialectic of the belle âme to the Dora case in Intervention on Transference (Mitchell. The outcome of the conflict of the belle âme is the tyrannical imposition of the "law of the heart" on the world: "(. We have already seen in the preceding sections that death may appear either as an image or (mainly) as a symbol. in its turn. "The moi.. directing his blows against what seems to him disorder. Finally. "The madman (.) wants to impose the law of his heart on what appears to him as the disorder of the world. The disorder he suffers from does not belong to the world around him but is produced by himself. p. Death. 20.2 Other Hegelian figures referred to by Lacan. p. which is beyond all verifications and doubts. The neurotic. a "mad" enterprise (. death adheres in Lacan's theory to the Kojèvian conception of the negativity of death. 126-127 (1977a).) the protest of the 'beautiful soul'.) in the Hegelian myth.. 3. It is the illusion that there is a truth or an absolute knowledge. 70). death is not even structured like a fear. Such is the general formula of madness that we find in Hegel" (Lacan. like a stake. a) The dialectic of the belle âme.) his being is thus enclosed in a circle. 249).html Pagina 16 di 21 . and in so far as what he feels to be the law of his heart is only the image. Lacan even regards the dialectic of the belle âme and of the law of the heart as the most successful representation of madness in Hegel's Phenomenology. Through the law of the heart Lacan alludes to the aggressivity resulting from the neurotic's delusion. between the master and the slave. Its revolt will bring it an even greater dissatisfaction. d) Death has a special place in Lacan's psychoanalytical theory. which is an essential reversal in respect to the Kojèvian point of view. Itfunctions like a restraining risk. b) The Hegelian "cunning of reason" signifies for Lacan an illusion inherent to all rational knowledge (including the Phenomenology of Hegel).Hegel. the subject knows what he file:///upload/in%20lingua%20-%20verificare/LACAN%20-%20doc/IN…AN%20-%20Hegel_Kojeve_Lacan%20Folder/Hegel-Kojeve-Lacan_2. In the Phenomenology the (romantic) beautiful soul revolts against a world of disorder which is simply a projection of its own disorder. p. 1982. according to Lacan. he strikes out at himself by way of social repercussion. 1966. in a word. from beginning to end. 1977a. "(. It resides in a permanent delusion about itself and the world. 171-172). that no one is willing to take... unless he breaks it with some act of violence in which.. There is always a missing or a hidden (repressed) signifier in the message of the unconscious. it is structured like a risk. both inverted and virtual. The unconscious accedes to the conscious discourse of the subject only in an inverted form. The quotation in 3. there is a rule of the game" (Lacan.) rises up against the world in the name of the law of the heart" (Mitchell. The negativity of speech in Lacan's doctrine appears to be reduplicated on the levels of conscious and unconscious discourse. which may be attached to the symbol of the Father or to other representatives of the Other. p.. has taken on its form in the dialectical impasse of the belle âme who does not recognize his very own raison d'être in the disorder that he denounces in the world" (Lacan. 4 illustrates Lacan's awareness of the relationship between death and human freedom (which is a basic idea of Kojève).. It is a very polyvalent concept.. Thus the negativity of unconscious discourse is directed to discourse itself.Part II: Hegel and Lacan 28/11/2006 07:34 PM significant effect of the unconscious discourse on the subject is that it negates the referent/sender/receiver of speech without letting him control or conceive of his own dissolution.. which will intensify. p.. the disorder projected onto the world. as I have indicated elsewhere.. it is a part of the Freudian myth about the Oedipus complex which Lacan takes into consideration.. the ego. All his attempts to overcome this disorder increase it. or to the structure of mental disorder in general. is trapped in such a vicious circularity. "Hegel's 'cunning of reason' means that. p. 65).) in that (..the Metamorphoses of Dialectics . just because they are the driving forces of that disorder. First of all.) the subject does not recognize in the world's disorder the very manifestation of his present being. (. does not only represent human freedom (or the absolute freedom man is able to attain). 1. 65). however. and. From the beginning. It is at the same time the hindrance to the achievement of such freedom. of that same being (. of modern man. The elements of unconscious discourse represent (and negate) another repressed discourse. It has a pacifying function (which takes part in the Oedipal normalization). b.

Absolute knowledge. which. and whose structure is often found among the intelligentsia" (Lacan. is series of miscognitions which undermine the identity of the subject and make any correspondence of knowledge to the reality of the subject impossible. The Aufhebung (sublation) is one of those sweet dreams of philosophy" (Mitchell. 1977a.. the fully conscious self" (Lacan. The separating line between them coincides with the separating line between knowledge and sexuality. c) Lacan's reformulation of the Hegelian "unhappy consciousness"12 throws light on a very important distinction between the Phenomenology of Spirit and psychoanalysis. constructive) outcome of dialectics in the Phenomenology. 301). Correspondingly. however strongly it is engraved in Hegel.Part II: Hegel and Lacan 28/11/2006 07:34 PM wants" (Lacan. he is called the Selbstbewußtsein. He is named. file:///upload/in%20lingua%20-%20verificare/LACAN%20-%20doc/IN…AN%20-%20Hegel_Kojeve_Lacan%20Folder/Hegel-Kojeve-Lacan_2. p.. which is the pattern of a dialectical negativity for Kojève. "Who can not see the distance that separates the unhappy consciousness .from the 'discontents of civilization' in Freud (. The synthetic progress of the "fully conscious self" involves the function of sublation (Aufhebung). A simplification of the dialectic of the Phenomenology or not. The most complete summary of Hegel's dialectic to be found in Lacan's writings reveals his sensitivity to the major problems of the Phenomenology. "The cunning of reason is an attractive notion because it echoes with a personal myth that is very familiar to the obsessional neurotic. and is the fundamental hypothesis of this whole process. is a cognitive one). which makes us suppose that he is also not unaware of the transformations he introduces in the Hegelian dialectical figures. What interests us now is Lacan's fundamental disbelief in the synthetic (positive. 1982. Lacan emphatically rejects the constructivity attributed to sublation by Hegel: "(. 296). What is this real. Kojeve and Lacan . as products of the constructive sublations of the Phenomenology. can never revert to making one again. We shall not discuss here why Lacan assumes that the subject matter of the Phenomenology is the subject of knowledge.html Pagina 17 di 21 . its outcome . 1977a.Hegel.) there is no Other of the Other" (Lacan.of which. it can be said that it is still no more than the suspension of a corpus of knowledge . is an entirely destructive function in Lacan's view.. Sublation. not even a new one. d) Lacan's critique of Hegel has been implied by many of his references to the Phenomenology analyzed so far. 1977a. What makes this distinction between Hegel's Phenomenology and psychoanalysis special is that Lacan is aware of it. higher. 156). 308-309). It. of an absolute knowledge. p. according to Lacan.the Metamorphoses of Dialectics . because knowledge. better or more truthful. it can only be the conjunction of the symbolic with a real of which there is nothing more to be expected.) that marks for us what.. can not be treated ontologically by a psychoanalyst like Lacan who is mainly interested in human sexuality. can not be articulated otherwise than the 'skew' relation that separates the subject from sexuality?" (Lacan. As such it is deduced.13 There will always be a gap between knowledge and truth. there is no going back on it. Such an absolute knowledge or a unconditional cognitive position is unattainable for the subject of discourse: "(. 311). the being conscious of self. p.. if not a subject fulfilled in his identity to himself? From which one can conclude that this subject is already perfect in this regard. according to Lacan. of a synthetic reshaping of the subject of knowledge.p. 1977a. p. in effect. this passage stresses its most vulnerable point. and in the epistemological problems correlated with it. The main point of dissent between Lacan and Hegel is the Hegelian idea of a synthetic truth. "This dialectic is convergent and attains the conjuncture defined as absolute knowledge. All claims for an absolute truth lead the subject of discourse to a miscognition of his own status in the Symbolic order.) when one is made into two. according to Lacan. as being the substratum of this process. absolute knowledge and the fully conscious self belong to the same sweet dream of philosophy. on reading it. which structure in the Phenomenology a realm of knowledge and selfknowledge (a view shared also by Lacan). The dialectical figures employed so far by Lacan.the absolute knowledge. p. the conjunction of the (Lacanian) Symbolic with the (Lacanian) Real is something unattainable. and not the spirit. 1977a. is the hindrance to any possible synthesis of something new. 297) The most important implication of this distinction for our thesis is that the Hegelian dialectical figures. structure a field of experience which is predominantly a sexual one (whereas the field of the Phenomenology.. the fully conscious self.

14 There are. These particular dialectical figures refer to the historical existence of man. which has linguistic and psychoanalytical dimensions. Lacan is not interested so much in the particular form of existence these phenomena designate. disguised in various allusions and metaphors. As phenomena they represent the modalities of human activity and creativity. opposite to one another. b) The second question is: What changes do the Hegelian dialectical figures undergo in the psychoanalytical theory of Jacques Lacan? Lacan employs the same dialectical figures from the Phenomenology. which Kojève has promoted into principles of dialectics.Hegel. We can not be sure to what extent Lacan's "dialectic" distorts or restructures the Freudian pattern of his theory. including those overemphasized by Kojève. Kojève and Lacan . the Kojèvian dialectical principles do not represent in Lacan's theory the being of negativity or the negativity in being. These figures. speech and death) are the principles of the dialectic of history. these dialectical figures accord with Lacan's linguistic reinterpretation of Freud. goes beyond the Kojèvian reformulations of Hegel's dialectic in two main respects. Their emptiness comes out of the lack of a constant referent (an existing entity). struggle. Kojeve and Lacan . labor. which requires a more detailed answer than the first one. Inflated into signifiers of negativity. The five modes of negativity are the principles of one of the branches of Kojève's "dualist ontology" . b. The Kojèvian reversal of Hegel's idea of dialectics has been displayed in the paper: Hegel. He considers them as dialectical for almost the same reasons as Kojève does . 1 According to Kojève the five modes of negativity (of desire.history. Lacan views dialectics from an entirely non-ontological perspective. The one thing we may be sure of is that the dialectical figures referred to by Lacan do not have only a decorative function in his thinking. which overemphasizes the splitting (die Spaltung) of the subject and its emptiness as a subject of speech. heavily marked by Kojève's influence on Lacan. We have been regarding this transition as a transformative process.Part I: Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit and its Kojèvian interpretation as a point of reference for the psychoanalytic theory of Jacques Lacan. This may be a task of a separate study. The unambiguity of the phenomena of negativity in Hegel's Phenomenology or in Kojève's thinking results from the fact that they are regarded ontologically. They are part of the symbolic context in which it is worked out. file:///upload/in%20lingua%20-%20verificare/LACAN%20-%20doc/IN…AN%20-%20Hegel_Kojeve_Lacan%20Folder/Hegel-Kojeve-Lacan_2. Two general questions. the selection of which is determined by Kojève. These reformulations are scattered around the whole of Lacan's theory.The Metamorphoses of Dialectics . All the phenomena in the Phenomenology. As signifiers of negativity. They are ontological principles for Kojève. He is more attracted to the manifold meanings these signifiers of negativity can produce. a) The first question is: What is the impact of the dialectical figures employed by Lacan on his psychoanalytical doctrine? As modes of negativity. should be raised if we want to draw the distinctions between Kojève's and Lacan's conceptions of dialectics. The main effect of Lacan's non-ontological approach is that in his theory the Hegelian phenomena of negativity are reduced to mere signifiers of negativity. they refer to man's being.Part II: Hegel and Lacan 28/11/2006 07:34 PM CONCLUSION We have already examined some of the more important problems and aspects of the transition from Hegel's conception of dialectics to its Lacanian reinterpretation. The Lacanian "dialectical figures" are able to designate almost everything in the field of psychoanalysis. the Hegelian figures in Lacan's theory are simultaneously polysemantic and empty of meaning. illuminate certain forms of human existence. Furthermore we can say that Hegel's phenomenological survey is also (but not only) an ontological one.they all designate modes of negativity. Contrary to Hegel and Kojève. we shall go on directly to our second question. Lacan. The current second part of this paper deals with the Lacanian references to Hegel's dialectic and reveals that all of them refer not directly to it but to its negativistic and anthropological Kojèvian version. designate the conflicts and the divisions operative in Lacan's psychoanalytical theory of the subject. They help Lacan elaborate the matrix of his radically negativistic (and why not postmodern) reformulation of psychoanalysis. The dialectical figures from the Phenomenology. are not the matrix itself. considerable differences between Kojève's version of Hegel's dialectic and its Lacanian inversion. however. Their polysemy is based on their interrelations with other problems of Lacan's psychoanalysis. Since we are interested in the metamorphoses of dialectics in the transition from Hegel to Lacan.html Pagina 18 di 21 . however. They designate the meanings of various forms of negativity operative in the realm of meaning (imaginary or symbolic). He regards them as the phenomena around which revolves human history and progress. that they represent some form of being (non-being) or another.the Metamorphoses of Dialectics . The authentic Kojèvian principles of dialectics can hardly be recognized after the numerous semantic metamorphoses they undergo as a result of their non-ontological reformulations by Lacan. however.

the negativity of the beautiful soul (belle âme): ". The Lacanian idea of dialectics excludes any positivity whatsoever. his identity is nothing more than a function of their interrelations. for Lacan.Vienna. He is the void between the signifiers of speech. somewhere. labor. p. constructive meaning. Lacan employs some Hegelian dialectical structures in order to represent the play of destructive forces (desire. Considerably intensified in the second half of the XXth century by the emergence of philosophical postmodernism. or the dialectic of the belle âme and of the law of the heart. and generally whatever enables us to understand how the constitution of the object is subordinated to the realization of the subject" (Lacan.Hegel. 2 The second reversal of dialectics in Lacan's theory is based upon the nonontological adoption of Kojève's idea about the identity between dialectics and negativity.html Pagina 19 di 21 . formulated by Kojève. 221). Radostin Kaloianov . rivalry. Dr. speech) working upon (and dissolving) the subject of analysis. While the Hegelian dialectical figures in Lacan's theory designate the negations that determine the splittings of the subject (of desire or speech). Kojeve and Lacan . Aphanisis. 2 Definitions of the subject as a void. These two reversals condition all the metamorphoses of the structure. p. aphanisis of the subject. speech and death as principles of every positive changing and reshaping of reality because he attributed these principles to the activity of man as a historical being. Dialectics. which is supposed to restore the emptiness of the subject (its openness for endless significations) whenever it has petrified in a kind of deceptive identity.it is impossible for our technique to fail to recognize the structuring moments of the Hegelian phenomenology: in the first place the master-slave dialectic.the Metamorphoses of Dialectics . The suspension of the ontological dimension of these phenomena of negativity eliminates the only reason for Lacan to consider them as principles of a constructive dialectic. 80). 1977b. His conception of the subject as a void has also a normative value for the psychoanalytical treatment. means fading of the subject. from the Rome report. not only supports such a conclusion. The non-ontological and the radically negativistic perspectives in Lacan's standpoint on dialectics represent the two major reversals of the Hegelian/Kojèvian conception of dialectics. the function and the meaning of the Hegelian dialectical figures present in Lacan's psychoanalytical doctrine. for his improvement and self-creation as a rational being. struggle. which has nothing to do with Lacan's partiality or theoretical incompetence. This conviction is closely related to the broader context of his thinking: that of the reorientation of the human sciences in the XXth century from the problems of being to the problems of meaning. The Kojèvian modes of negativity are accountable for the real historical progress of man.Part II: Hegel and Lacan 28/11/2006 07:34 PM Lacan disqualifies the ontological dimension of the Hegelian/Kojèvian dialectical figures mainly because of his deepest conviction that being is out of the reach of psychoanalysis and of the rest of the human sciences.. file:///upload/in%20lingua%20-%20verificare/LACAN%20-%20doc/IN…AN%20-%20Hegel_Kojeve_Lacan%20Folder/Hegel-Kojeve-Lacan_2. but also adds to the principles of dialectics. because language is not the Being of metaphysics. The Lacanian upturns of dialectics are not something arbitrary. Ontological positivity is absolutely unthinkable in respect to language. Man's being is nothing outside language and speech. and it is in this alienation. is centered around the nothingness of the subject of speech and around the negations that sustain this nothingness. 3 "There is no subject without. Lacan emphatically denies them any chance to have a positive.15 b. This second reversal of dialectics in Lacan's theory is not a result of a re-interpretation of Hegel or Kojève. Kojève regarded the five modes of negativity of desire. in this fundamental division.. but is rather a consequence of the re-deployment of certain dialectical structures from the domain of being to the domain of meaning. here. 1977a. The metamorphoses of dialectics in Lacan's theory are a product of a certain tendentiousness. They do not result from a philosophical illiteracy or misunderstanding. That is how he arrives at a radically negativistic conception of dialectics. as a gap are almost a common place in Lacan's writings. this reorientation explicates at least the inevitability of the Lacanian reversals of Hegel's dialectic. The subject of speech is irrecoverably split. The positivity we are referring to is an ontological one. Austria Footnotes 1. while the radical negativity endorsed by Lacan functions in the Symbolic (at the level of meaning). A statement of Lacan. but rather stems from the much more general tendency of a reorientation of the human sciences from the problems of being to the problems of meaning. that the dialectic of the subject is established" (Lacan.

The unfolding of the former is partly a compensation for the failure of the latter. The function of the lack which sets into motion the want-to-be. speech and death have other meanings than in the Kojèvian or Hegelian conceptual registers. The analyst simulates a Hegelian philosopher. 11 Other possible interpretations of the same formula: a) man's desire desires the desire (the recognition) of the Other. p. Lacan also sees the Oedipal stage as a transition into the Symbolic order. what has been lost on the level of the want-to-have. according to Freud. the "unhappy consciousness" itself is a synonym of the dividing re-duplication of the subject in two incommensurate realities. however. the desire for recognition emerges in the ego(moi)-other relationship. it is impossible not to make a general theory of the symbol the axis of a new classification of the sciences where the sciences of man will once more take up their central position as sciences of subjectivity" (Lacan.Hegel. 9 We have to bear in mind that in the Lacanian conceptual register. This symbolic intervention only directs but does not suspend the imaginary process. 15 Lacan is completely aware of this re-orientation: "From now on.. Through the Oedipus complex. This linguistic reformulation of the Oedipus complex is definitely related to the "rigid 'dualist ontology' of Kojève: man is what he is (.) only by not being what he is" (Jacobsen. 8 All gender-specified pronouns in this paper have not to be understood in a realist manner. p. are: a) Lacan's basic idea about the inaccessibility of truth. but rather the dissolution of the subject of speech into a void which is constantly refilled by various signifiers. 14 Lacan pays attention mainly to those dialectical figures of the Phenomenology of Spirit which have been promoted into principles of dialectics as such by Kojève. which is a request for love and which belongs to the child-Mother (imaginary Other) relationship. This is one of the guidelines of our study. The stake of the demand for love is the possession of (or by) the Mother. something definitely non-Freudian in Lacan's conception on the Oedipal stage. or b) man's desire desires like the desire of the Other. file:///upload/in%20lingua%20-%20verificare/LACAN%20-%20doc/IN…AN%20-%20Hegel_Kojeve_Lacan%20Folder/Hegel-Kojeve-Lacan_2. 7 There is.html Pagina 20 di 21 . is not the acquisition of a permanent identity by the subject. 6 The small-"o" other is designated in the mirror by the big-"O" Other (the Mother). a). which does not have anything in common with the structure of the Phenomenology. Kojeve and Lacan . p. while the stake of the desire of recognition is the recognition (which is a sort of identification) by the imaginary double of the ego. and which seemingly solidifies into a signifier (and therefore acquires an identity). which brings into existence the other and which requires of him a recognition. 1991. 10 The want-to-be is not simply a compensation for the frustrated want-to-have. a wise man. 158). 225). 1977a. The outcome of this transition. except may be those gender-specified pronouns that are being suggested by the quotes from Lacan. stems from the frustration of the want-to-have. b) The substitution of the spirit by the letter: "The pretensions of the spirit would remain unassailable if the letter had not shown us that it produces all the effects of truth in man without involving the spirit at all" (Lacan. It seems that Lacan's theory maintains a structure centered around the pre-and-transsubjective agency of the letter. desire. the subject acquires an identity in an order of rules and symbols guaranteed by the superego. however.the Metamorphoses of Dialectics . 3. This frustration urges the want-to-be to achieve on another level. besides the most radical one: the denial of the success of any dialectical synthesis. Some of them will become clearer in the course of our presentation. 73).Part II: Hegel and Lacan 28/11/2006 07:34 PM 4 Other indications of the Lacanian rejection of Hegel. 1977a. 13 The otherwise impossible conjunction between the Symbolic and the Real is exemplified for Lacan by the abstention of the analyst in the treatment (see 2.. 5 Unlike demand. based upon the pre-and-trans-subjective agency of the spirit. which does not prove that he really has an absolute knowledge or that he really has reached the truth the patient expects him to have. 12 In Lacan's theory.

1958. trans. Paris. The Absolute Master. 1991) Mitchell J. Feminine sexuality. London [Back to Library] file:///upload/in%20lingua%20-%20verificare/LACAN%20-%20doc/IN…AN%20-%20Hegel_Kojeve_Lacan%20Folder/Hegel-Kojeve-Lacan_2. Macmillan Press. New York. 1984. Penguin Books.Hegel. Harmondsworth.1991) Lacan J. 1988. The Seminar of Jacques Lacan.the Metamorphoses of Dialectics . England Lacan J. Kojeve and Lacan . Seuil. Écrits. LA Lacan J. Navarin Editeur (quoted from Jacobsen. 1991. Book I. trans. Norton (quoted from Jacobsen.. Stanford UP. 1982. Écrits: a selection. manuscript copy (quoted from Jacobsen. Les complexes familiaux dans la formation de l'individu. Alan Sheridan. Douglas Brick. Jacqueline Rose.. (quoted from Jacobsen. Le desir et son interpretation.. Paris. Stanford. trans. Alan Sheridan. 1966. 1977b. Routledge Lacan J.. The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis. trans.1991) Lacan J. 1991) Lacan J.. 1977a. Freud's Papers On Technique..Part II: Hegel and Lacan 28/11/2006 07:34 PM Bibliography: Borch-Jacobsen M.. Lacan..html Pagina 21 di 21 .

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