Hegel's Dialectic of Desire and Recognition

Texts and Commentary

Edited by John O'Neill

Subjects: Political Theory
Series: SUNY series in the Philosophy of the Social Sciences
Paperback : 9780791427149, 331 pages, February 1996
Hardcover : 9780791427132, 331 pages, February 1996

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Table of contents


Introduction: A Dialectical Genealogy of Self, Society, and Culture in and after Hegel
John O'Neill

Part I. Lordship and Bondage

1. Lordship and Bondage
G. W.F. Hegel

2. Critique of Hegel
Karl Marx

Part II. Desire and Recognition

3. Desire and Work in the Master and Slave
Alexandre Kojeve

4. Self-Consciousness and Life: The Independence of Self-Consciousness
Jean Hyppolite

5. The Existence of Others
Jean-Paul Sarte

Part III. Alienation and Recognition

6. Hegel's Economics During the Jena Period
Georg Lukacs

7. Labor and Interaction: Remarks on Hegel's Jena Philosophy of Mind
Jurgen Habermas

8. Hegel's Dialectic of Self-Consciousness
Hans-Georg Gadamer

Part IV. Dialectics of Desire and Recognition

9. Of Human Bondage: Labor and Freedom in the Phenomenology
Howard Adelman

10. Labor, Alienation, and Social Classes in Hegel's Realphilosophie
Shlomo Avineri

11. Master and Slave: The Bonds of Love
Jessica Benjamin

12. Hegel and Lacan: The Dialectic of Desire
Edward S. Casey and J. Melvin Woody

13. The Concept of Recognition in Hegel's Jena Manuscripts
Henry S. Harris

14. Notes on Hegel's "Lordship and Bondage"
George Armstrong Kelly

15. The Struggle for Recognition: Hegel's Dispute with Hobbes in the Jena Writings
Ludwig Siep

16. Self-Sufficient Man: Dominion and Bondage
Judith N. Shklar

17. The Metaphor in Hegel's Phenomenology of Mind
Henry Sussman


Presents three generations of German, French, and Anglo-American thinking on the Hegelian narrative of desire, recognition, and alienation in life, labor, and language.


This book presents three generations of German, French, and Anglo-American thinking on the Hegelian narrative of desire, recognition, and alienation in life, labor, and language—a narrative that has been subject to extensive commentary in philosophy, literature, psychoanalysis, and feminist thought. The texts focus on a central topos in Western thought, the story of self-consciousness awakened in nature and in history. John O'Neill argues that current postmodern rejections of the Hegelian-Marxist narrative demand an understanding of the texts included here. Without Hegel and Marx in our toolbox, he argues, we will flounder in a world marked by the split between postmodern indifference and premodern passion.

The book makes a strong selection from the history of Hegelian-Marxist debate, hermeneutical and critical theory, and Freudian/Lacanian and feminist commentary on the dialectic of desire and recognition, on the levels of social psychology and political economy. Included are articles by Karl Marx, G. W. F. Hegel, Alexandre Kojève, Jean Hyppolite, Jean-Paul Sarte, Georg Lukács, Jürgen Habermas, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Howard Adelman, Shlomo Avineri, Jessica Benjamin, Edward S. Casey and J. Melvin Woody, Henry S. Harris, George Armstrong Kelly, Ludwig Siep, Judith N. Shklar, and Henry Sussman. The texts and commentaries show how the Hegelian-Maxist narrative of desire, recognition, and alienation is a contested story, one in which class, race, and gender issues are drawn into a historical romance that is being rewritten in contemporary cultural politics.

John O'Neill is Distinguished Research Professor of Sociology at York University, Toronto, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He is the author of a number of books, including For Marx Against Althusser and The Poverty of Postmodernism.


"For anyone interested in Hegel and Hegel's influence on subsequent Continental Philosophy it would be difficult to imagine a more interesting set of articles. Most of the articles in this anthology are 'classics. ' Its publication will further the study of Hegel considerably. " — Tony Smith, Iowa State University