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Unconscious Abyss, The

Hegel's Anticipation of Psychoanalysis

Jon Mills

Publication Year: 2002

Offering the first comprehensive examination of Hegel’s theory of the unconscious abyss, Jon Mills rectifies a much neglected area of Hegel scholarship. Mills shows that the unconscious is the foundation for conscious and self-conscious life and is responsible for the normative and pathological forces that fuel psychic development. In addition, Mills illustrates how Hegel’s idea of the unconscious abyss transcends his time and is a pivotal concept to his entire philosophical system—one that advances the current understanding of the psychoanalytic mind.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Series: SUNY series in Hegelian Studies (discontinued)

TItle Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xi

This book attempts to excavate an element of Hegel's work that has remained virtually buried from visibility within contemporary Hegel scholarship. There has been no extended treatment of Hegel's theory of the unconscious, and apart from a few passing references, what commentary that does exist is in relation to Hegel's rather concise remarks about madness or Verrücktheit revealed mainly in...

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A Note on the Texts

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pp. xiii-xv

From the Encyclopaedia, M. J. Petry (Ed.) outlines Section 1 of Hegel's Philosophy of Spirit in Hegel's Philosophy of Subjective Spirit, Vol.1: Introductions; Vol.2: Anthropology; and Vol.3: Phenomenology and Psychology (Dordrecht, Holland: D. Reidel Publishing Company, 1978). Petry's edition provides a photographic...

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pp. 1-19

HEGEL MAKES VERY FEW references to the unconscious. In fact, his account is limited to only a few passages in the Phenomenology of Spirit and the Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical Sciences. While Hegel did not explicitly develop a formal theory of the unconscious, nor include it as a central element of his Anthropology or Psychology, he certainly did not ignore the notion. From...

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One. Retracing the Ungrund

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pp. 21-51

THOUGHT LIVES UNDERGROUND. What is the ground (Grund) of human consciousness--of subjectivity--the very essence that makes thought, hence spirit, possible? Does such a ground exist, and if so, to whom does it belong--to the I, or to an it as Nietzsche suggests; or perhaps to nothing at all? If it is necessary to posit a sufficient reason--a ground--for every mental event, then it...

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Two. Unconscious Spirit

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pp. 53-97

HEGEL NEVER USES the term Ungrund to refer to the unconscious although he was very familiar with its significance in Boehme and Schelling, as we have seen. It is surprising that Hegel did not directly mention the Ungrund in his treatment of Boehme in his Lectures on the History of Philosophy. When he summarizes Boehme's position on God’s self-revelation, he specifically refers to knowledge...

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Three. Hegel's PhilosophicalPsychology

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pp. 99-134

REASON IS ALSO A WISH. Could it be possible for spirit to be in excess of reason, that is, beyond reason's grasp? If we could envisage for a moment that spirit was in excess of reason, then what would constitute that excess? Does spirit resist reason? These are indeed difficult questions to sustain because it would suggest that spirit is beyond reason, thus beyond itself. It would require us to...

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Four. The Dialectic of Desire

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pp. 135-157

IN "THE "UNCANNY" Freud tells us a personal anecdote of when he once encountered an unsavory old man on a train, until he realized that he was staring at his image in a full-length mirror at the end of his compartment.1 This experience of misrecognition points to the uncanny powers of projection and...

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Five. Abnormal Spirit

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pp. 159-186

PSYCHIC DECAY: this is the deviation of spirit, a decay it undergoes by its own hands. Decay, negation--the language of life, confined to its own laboratory as spirit educates itself to truth. The violence that permeates spirit in its historical truth is also the violence that inflicts great suffering upon spirit as it seeks to conquer opposition; and when it can't, it sinks back into the abyss, its original...

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Six. Implications for Psychoanalysis

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pp. 187-202

THROUGHOUT THIS PROJECT, I have attempted to show that Hegel has a surprisingly well articulated theory of the unconscious and the psychodynamic processes that govern the structure, function, and operations of the mind. According to which, the unconscious is the foundation for conscious and self-conscious...


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pp. 203-235


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pp. 237-252

Subject Index

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pp. 253-258

Author Index

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pp. 259-261

E-ISBN-13: 9780791488171
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791454756
Print-ISBN-10: 0791454754

Page Count: 281
Publication Year: 2002

Series Title: SUNY series in Hegelian Studies (discontinued)