What do we know about Hegel? What do we know about Marx? What do we know about democracy and totalitarianism? Communism and psychoanalysis? What do we know that isn't a platitude that we've heard a thousand times - or a self-satisfied certainty? Through his brilliant reading of Hegel, Slavoj Zizek - one of the most provocative and widely-read thinkers of our time - upends our traditional understanding, dynamites every cliche and undermines every conviction in order to clear the ground for new ways of answering these questions.
When Lacan described Hegel as the most sublime hysteric , he was referring to the way that the hysteric asks questions because he experiences his own desire as if it were the Other's desire. In the dialectical process, the question asked of the Other is resolved through a reflexive turn in which the question begins to function as its own answer. We had made Hegel into the theorist of abstraction and reaction, but by reading Hegel with Lacan, Zizek unveils a Hegel of the concrete and of revolution - his own, and the one to come.
This early and dazzlingly original work by Zizek offers a unique insight into the ideas which have since become hallmarks of his mature thought. It will be of great interest to anyone interested in critical theory, philosophy and contemporary social thought.
Slavoj Zizek is Professor at the Institute of Sociology, Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Introduction: Impossible Absolute Knowledge 1 Book I: Hegel with Lacan 7 1. The Formal Aspect : Reason versus Understanding 9 2. The Retroactive Performative, or How the Necessary Emerges from the Contingent 21 3. The Dialectic as Logic of the Signifier (1): The One of Self-Reference 35 4. The Dialectic as Logic of the Signifier (2): The Real of the Triad 54 5. Das Ungeschehenmachen: How is Lacan a Hegelian? 70 6. The Cunning of Reason, or the True Nature of the Hegelian Teleology 83 7. The Suprasensible is the Phenomenon as Phenomenon, or How Hegel Goes Beyond the Kantian Thing-in-Itself 97 8. Two Hegelian Witz, Which Help Us Understand Why Absolute Knowledge Is Divisive 105 Book II: Post-Hegelian Impasses 125 9. The Secret of the Commodity Form: Why is Marx the Inventor of the Symptom? 127 10. Ideology Between the Dream and the Phantasy: A First Attempt at Defining Totalitarianism 146 11. Divine Psychosis, Political Psychosis: A Second Attempt at Defining Totalitarianism 156 12. Between Two Deaths: Third, and Final, Attempt at Defining Totalitarianism 175 13. The Quilting Point of Ideology: Or Why Lacan is Not a Poststructuralist 195 14. Naming and Contingency: Hegel and Analytic Philosophy 209 References 230 Index 236