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Hegel, Psychoanalysis and Intersubjectivity



This article aims to locate the connections between Hegel’s philosophy and psychoanalytic theory, with a particular focus on the model of intersubjectivity, as drawn from his Phenomenology of Spirit. The roots of the encounter between the philosophy of Hegel and psychoanalytic theory can be traced back to Jacques Lacan and the less well-considered figure of Jean Hyppolite. Lacan, as a psychoanalyst, used Hegel’s thought in his own theory, as is well known, while Hyppolite was arguably one of the first to write from a philosophical angle about the links between the two seemingly opposed systems of thinking. I will give a broad overview of the use of Hegelian philosophy in psychoanalytic theory from the Hyppolite–Lacan relationship through to contemporary thinkers in the fields of philosophy and psychoanalysis. Although recently the figure of Slavoj Žižek has popularised the Hegel-psychoanalysis connection, there remains much more to be explored in this branch of Hegel studies that widens the scope beyond the Lacanian-Marxist version he employs. This article will survey existing literature (in the English language) and thus illuminate the key texts in the history of Hegel’s impact on psychoanalytic theory and the concept of intersubjectivity and gesture towards the future potential of this line of inquiry.