Progress in Spirit


in Phenomenologies of the Stranger

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780823234615
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823240722 | DOI:

Series: Perspectives in Continental Philosophy

Progress in Spirit

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Who is this Stranger within, this interior haunting that makes us Strangers to ourselves in the way Antigone experienced? Sigmund Freud alerts us to the hidden place in our psyches where the strange and Stranger hide, while it is Julia Kristeva who points to the ethical and political ramifications of this split and estranged self. This chapter explores Kristeva's joining of self-knowledge and moral goodness and considers the implications of the related political project of cosmopolitanism. At the heart of Kristeva's politics lies the uncanny. To understand why this is so, the chapter argues that we must see the implications of Freud's turn to the death drive that destructures the boundaries within the self and between the self and others. Freud and Kristeva are hopeful that we might make “progress in Spirit,” albeit for different reasons and with refined definitions of the term “Spirit.” This chapter suggests that psychoanalysis does not condemn us to a repetition of the past, but allows us to open, hospitably, to the future as to the stranger.

Keywords: Stranger; Julia Kristeva; Sigmund Freud; self-knowledge; moral goodness; cosmopolitanism; uncanny; self; Spirit; psychoanalysis

Chapter.  12062 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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