Death and Desire in Hegel, Heidegger and Deleuze

Death and Desire in Hegel, Heidegger and Deleuze

Brent Adkins
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 232
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  • Book Info
    Death and Desire in Hegel, Heidegger and Deleuze
    Book Description:

    This book places Hegel, Heidegger and Deleuze in conversation with one another, which results in a new (joyful) way of thinking about death.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-3180-3
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction: Like a Painful Wound
    (pp. 1-14)

    In his seminal essay ‘Mourning and Melancholia’ Freud is grappling with the problem of loss. What happens when a loved object is lost? The loss of a loved object is obviously traumatic, but what is the source of this trauma and how does it manifest itself? For Freud the loss of a loved object creates trauma; the ego is attached to what it loves. These attachments are called cathexes. When these attachments are severed, however, the process of anticathexis, of withdrawing the attachments, is very painful. This is the source of trauma created by the loss of a loved object....

  5. Part I Melancholia
    • 1 Death, Incorporated
      (pp. 17-37)

      It is well known that Being and Time is an unfinished work, or at least the completion of the goals that it sets for itself were not accomplished within the confines of the book. What we have is two divisions of a proposed six in which Heidegger articulates the basic structure of human existence and argues that this structure is founded on a particular type of temporality. Heidegger provides a rigorous analysis of death at the beginning of Division Two. We thus find death at the centre of Being and Time. Death allows Heidegger to grasp human existence in its...

    • 2 Projections of Death
      (pp. 38-53)

      In order to argue that death is one of the conditions for the possibility of experience, we need first to examine the nature of Dasein’s experience. Having established this, I will argue that Dasein’s experience is made possible by death. In Division One of Being and Time Heidegger is attempting to articulate Dasein in what he calls its ‘average everydayness’. Given the usual way we go about things, can we discern a structure which accounts for our particular way of being? Heidegger answers that we can, in fact, discern such a structure, and the name of that structure is ‘care’...

    • 3 Lieutenant of the Nothing
      (pp. 54-72)

      Before pursuing further the analysis of Dasein as melancholic and the transcendental role that melancholia plays in Being and Time, we first need to examine Dasein’s unique mode of temporality. Heidegger understands temporality in a way that is very different from both common conceptions of temporality and theoretical conceptions of temporality. Heidegger’s task is thus twofold. The first task is a positive one in which he articulates Dasein’s unique mode of temporality. In order to claim, though, that Dasein’s unique mode of temporality is primordial, Heidegger’s second task must be to show that both theoretical and everyday conceptions of temporality...

  6. Part II Mourning
    • 4 Death Introjected
      (pp. 75-87)

      In contrast to Heidegger’s fastidious placement of death in Being and Time, Hegel stages several encounters with death throughout the Phenomenology of Spirit. This textual dispersion of death, along with the complexity of Hegel’s text, makes understanding the role of death in the Phenomenology difficult. Death can be found in every section except consciousness, which I will argue below is a significant exception.² The encounters with death that we will examine in this section occur in 1) the ‘struggle for recognition’ and 2) the ‘master and servant’ sections of the chapter on self-consciousness, 3) the ‘ethical order’ and 4) ‘terror’...

    • 5 Family Values and Culture Wars
      (pp. 88-105)

      Viewed through the psychoanalytic lens of mourning, we saw in the previous chapter that the movement of consciousness is characterised by a process of introjection. Consciousness is forced at each stage to remove its libidinal investments from an object and reattach them to a new object. Insofar as this process progresses, that is, insofar as in each case a new cathexis is formed, consciousness is introjecting its lost object. At each stage the loss is overcome and new attachments are made. This is the process of mourning.

      In this chapter we will see how this process develops and the Phenomenology...

    • 6 To Hold Fast What is Dead
      (pp. 106-122)

      In contrast to Heidegger’s transcendental account of death, we have been reading the Phenomenology as a history of death, a history of death’s transformation. Not only can death have a history, but according to Hegel’s method, it must have a history. Part of the ‘detailed history of the education of consciousness’ is an account of how consciousness relates to what it is not. Initially, consciousness finds death as its complete negation, the incomprehensibility of natural negation. Slowly, as consciousness becomes community, it is able to introject death within itself and transform it from natural negation to spiritual negation, as we...

  7. Part III Beatitude
    • 7 Paralogisms of Desire
      (pp. 125-145)

      As we saw in Parts I and II Hegel and Heidegger are forced into the antinomy of mourning and melancholia because each conceives of desire as flowing from a lack. In order to solve this antinomy I would like to propose a model of desire that is not predicated on a lack. In the Introduction we looked briefly at Spinoza’s conception of desire as a model of desire not predicated on a constitutive lack. I would like to return to Spinoza now in order to elucidate further this conception of desire as it relates to Deleuze and Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus.² The...

    • 8 The Investments of Desire
      (pp. 146-169)

      In the previous chapter we saw the way in which Deleuze and Guattari’s conception of desire provided a means by which the dominance of Oedipus might be criticised. In this chapter I would like to broaden the scope of analysis to show the necessary interrelation between desiring-production and social production. This analysis will allow us to reinscribe Oedipus within the larger history of capitalism and thus show the limits of Oedipus.

      In pursuing the relation between Oedipus and capitalism Deleuze and Guattari place themselves at the nexus of psychoanalysis and Marxism. What they want to avoid in their account, however,...

    • 9 A Mortuary Axiomatic
      (pp. 170-196)

      Throughout our analysis of Anti-Oedipus, Freud has played a pivotal role in highlighting what is unique in Deleuze and Guattari’s argument. Deleuze and Guattari have consistently argued that psychoanalysis gives accurate assessments of the unconscious and desire. They also argue that the recoding of desire that takes place within the family under Oedipal constraints, and within society as a whole under capitalist constraints, is what makes Freud’s theory so powerful. Where Deleuze and Guattari disagree with psychoanalysis, however, is the extent to which the recodings described by Freud are universal. Deleuze and Guattari argue that Oedipus is not universal, but...

  8. Conclusion: The Free Think of Death Least
    (pp. 197-208)

    According to Deleuze and Guattari the fundamental failure of both psychoanalysis and philosophy lies in the fact that neither is a song of life. Both sing an unrelenting dirge. I have argued, following Deleuze and Guattari, that this failure is the result of the way that desire is construed as precipitating from a lack. Hegel and Heidegger both accept this fundamental presupposition of a foundational lack, but organise their thought in antinomical ways with regard to this lack. I have argued that the antinomy between Hegel and Heidegger can be understood in terms of mourning and melancholia. I have also...

  9. Bibliography
    (pp. 209-216)
  10. Index
    (pp. 217-224)