Subject and Subjecthood

From Philosophy to Psychoanalysis

Authored by: Uri Hadar

The Routledge International Handbook of Psychoanalysis and Philosophy

Print publication date:  November  2022
Online publication date:  November  2022

Print ISBN: 9780367276454
eBook ISBN: 9780429297076
Adobe ISBN:


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There is a clear, though not self-evident, line of ideas leading from Descartes’s thinking subject to Lacan’s speaking being. In this chapter, I draw this line through such phenomenological ideas as Hegel’s self-consciousness, Marx’s working being, Husserl’s experiencing subject and Freud’s desiring subject. I examine the remarkable affinity between Husserl and Freud, arguing that they were the ones who elevated subjecthood to its prime status in the human sciences. I compare for differences and similarities Lacan’s subject to the notion of the subject in each of these thinkers and show the continuities and ruptures of change along this phenomenological line of thought. Especially, I show the affinity between Lacan’s and Marx’s subjects: in each, it involves action rather than interpretation. In addition, I discuss the prime role of the Hegelian idea of interdependence of Subject and Other, stressing the tension between the singularity of the Subject and the plurality of the Other. Finally, I consider the manner in which the investigation of subjecthood may inform the rehabilitation of subjectivity in psychotherapy. At the same time, the particular practice of psychoanalysis unsettles the Marxist distinction between interpretation and action.

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