Philosophy 820,

Intersubjectivity from Hegel to the Present

Fall Semester 2006,
Michigan State University

Dr. Christian Lotz


Tentative Schedule (last UPDATE: November 03, 2009)

Number Date Topic Primary Reading Additional Reading Protocol Presen-tation Other Assign-ments
0 Summer   Williams, Ethics of Recognition, 46-109 (introduction to first part) Coehlo, Patterns of Intersubjectivity (introduction to class topic)      
Segment I: The Hegelian Tradition I (Hegel, Marx, Habermas, Honneth)
1 Aug 31 Introduction Hegel, Jena Philosophy of Spirit, pp.85-132 (try to make your way through it) Honneth, Struggle, chapter 3; Williams, Ethics of Recognition, pp. 93-108.      
2 Sep 7 Hegel I: Jena Lectures on the Philosophy of Spirit Hegel, Jena Philosophy of Spirit, pp.99-132, esp. 100-104 (work), 106-108 (love) 108-110 (family); 110-118 (recognition) Habermas, Labor and Interaction; Lukacs, Hegel's Economics in his Jena Period; Shannon


3 14 Hegel II: Jena Lectures on the Philosophy of Spirit Hegel, Jena  Philosophy of Spirit, pp.119-132 (recognition) Habermas, From Kant to Hegel and Back Again, Honneth, Struggle, chapter 1-3 Ali


4 21 Hegel III: Self-Consciousness Hegel, Phenomenology, chapter IV, 1-3; (also Hegel, Encyclopaedia Philosophy of Spirit, 424-429) Kojeve, Introduction to the Reading of Hegel, 3-71 Aaron


5 28 Hegel IV: Recognition Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, chapter IV, 9-20; (also Hegel, Encyclopaedia Philosophy of Spirit, 430-435) Pippin, What is the Question  for which Hegel’s Theory of Recognition is the Answer; Colette
Yuanfang (Crystal)
Yuanfang (Crystal)  
6 Oct 5 Hegel V: Master/Slave Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, chapter IV, 21-31; (also Hegel, Encyclopaedia Philosophy of Spirit, 436-439) Benjamin, The Bonds of Love, chapter I+II; Ronda Shannon  
Segment III: The Pragmatic Tradition II (Mead, Dewey)
7 12 Other Aspects I: Psychoanalysis and Development Psychology Stern, The Interpersonal World of the Infant; esp. pp. 3-37; pp.100-162 Benjamin, Shadow of the Other Subject; Benjamin, Intersubjective distinctions; Benjamin, An outline of Intersubjectivity; Bill Colette  
  19 no class no class no class no class no class no class
8 26 (6:30-8:30) Other Aspects II: Psychoanalysis and Development Psychology Stern, The Interpersonal World of the Infant; esp. pp. 3-37; pp.100-162 Winnicott, Playing and Reality, esp. 1 and 6; Honneth, Struggle, chapter 5 Doug no paper  
Segment II: The Psychological Tradition (Freud, Klein, Winnicott, Bowlby, Stern, Benjamin)
9 26 (8:30-10:30) Mead I: Role-Taking Mead, Self, Society and Identity, pp.135-227 Honneth, Struggle, chapter 4 John no paper  
10 Nov 2 Mead II: The "We" Mead, Self, Society and Identity, pp.135-227 Habermas, Individuation through Socialization Denise/Jake Ali/Jake/Denise  
Segment IV: The Phenomenological Tradition (Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Buber, Levinas); Retreat, Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center,  December 2/3
11-15 Dec 2/3 Retreat Retreat Retreat Retreat Retreat Retreat
Sat 9-12 Session 1 Husserl, V. Cartesian Meditation Zahavi, Beyond Empathy   Ronda   
  12-1:30 Lunch          
  1:30-3 Session 2 Husserl, V. Cartesian Meditation     Matthew  
  3-4 Break          
  4-5:30 Session 3 Levinas, Philosophy and the Idea of the Infinite Peperzak, To the Other   Aaron  
  5:30-7 Dinner          
  7-8 TBA          
    Social Event          
Sun 8-9 Breakfast          
  9-12 Session 4 Levinas, Totality and Infinity, 187-254 Peperzak, To the Other   Douglas  
  12-1:30 Lunch          
  1:30-3 Session 5 Levinas, Totality and Infinity, 187-254  


16 Dec 13           Paper Due
  Dec 15           Paper Conference


Class Meetings: 
Days: TH 
Time: 6:30pm-9:20pm
Place: 530 South Kedzie

Phone: 517.353.9721
Place: 507 S. Kedzie Hall
Hours: TTH (1:00-2:00pm), by appointment and by phone


Other Contact:
Home Phone: 517.337.8524

(Please check the webpage regularily for the current schedule)

You will find my box in the front office of the philosophy department (and in front of my office)

Course Description:

Who is the other? What is the other? What is otherness? How do we “have” each other? Does the other precede me? This class will be a discussion of intersubjectivity and the Other as two of the key concepts in the European tradition, both of which are central for any serious approach to social philosophy: We will examine central ways of approaching the topic, namely the dialectical tradition, starting with Fichte/Hegel, the phenomenological tradition, starting with Husserl, the Jewish tradition starting with Buber, and, finally the psychological tradition starting with Freud, all of which try to reflect on the status of the other from a non-epistemological and non-intellectualistic standpoint. It will be shown that concepts, such as consciousness, self, and subjectivity can only be properly understood if we take them to be essentially social concepts. In addition, we will reflect on the danger of epistemologically "objectify" our primordial social world, and on the concept of a non-epistemic relation to the other as being prior to any epistemological relation to the other self. Two ways of looking at this field have turned out to be especially fruitful: [1] the concept of recognition (Hegel, Habermas, Honneth), and [2] the concept of “otherness” (Husserl, Buber, Levinas), both of which have also been addressed by Feminist Philosophy and have lead to a paradigm shift in Psychoanalysis and in Development Psychology (Benjamin, Winnicott, Spitz, Stern). In addition, the problem of whether our basic social relations are to be understood as symmetrical, asymmetrical, or as a combination of both have lead to alternative concepts of justice (which will not be the topic of this seminar).

Course Goals

  • introduction to a central concept in social philosophy (perhaps the basic concept)

  • deeper understanding of some aspects of social ontology in the European tradition

  • the importance of the concept of recognition

  • exercise in historically based contemporary thinking


You should purchase the following texts:

  • Hegel's Phenomenology of Self-Consciousness: Text and Commentary (Suny Series in Hegelian Studies), by Leo Rauch, State Univ of New York Pr; ISBN: 079144158X
  • Levinas, Emmanuel, Totality and Infinity: An Essay on Exteriority, Duquesne UP, ISBN: 0820702455
  • Mead, George H., Mind, Self, and Society, University of Chicago Press, ISBN 0226516687
  • Honneth, Axel, Struggle for Recognition, MIT Press, ISBN 0262581477
  • Peperzak, Aadrian, To the Other, Purdue UP, ISBN 1557530246
  • Stern, Daniel N., The Interpersonal World of the Infant, Basic Books, ISBN 0465034039


  • Benjamin, Jessica, The Bonds of Love: Psychoanalysis, Feminism, and the Problem of Domination, ISBN 0394757303 (optional, I'll make copies of the first two chapters)
  • Winnicott, Playing and Reality (I'll make copies of two chapters)
  • Kojeve, An Introduction to the Reading of Hegel (I'll make copies of the central chapter)
  • Husserl, Edmund, Cartesian Meditations, Springer: Dordrecht

Course Pack (available in my office):

  • Habermas, Juergen, “Individuation through Socialization: On George Herbert Mead’s Theory of Socialization,” in Habermas, Postmetaphysical Thinking, translated by William Mark Hohengarten (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1992).
  • Habermas, Juergen, Labor and Interaction, in Habermas, Theory and Practice
  • Habermas, Juergen, Theory of Communicative Action, Chapter on Mead
  • Benjamin, Jessica, Bonds of Love, chapter 1 + 2
  • Benjamin, Shadow of the Other Subject
  • Wood, David, "Some Questions for My Levinasian Friends," in Adressing Levinas, ed. E.S. Nelson, A. Kapust and K. Still, Northwestern UP 2005
  • Hegel, Enzyclopaedia, Subjective Spirit, 1817/1830
  • Hegel, Jena System of Spirit

Course pack 1 (online, please download, you'll need your MSU-NetID)

  • Zahavi, Beyond Empathy
  • Benjamin, Intersubjective Distinctions
  • Benjamin, An outline of Intersubjectivity
  • Benjamin, Recognition and Destruction
  • Pippin, Robert. “What is the Question for which Hegel’s Theory of Recognition is the Answer?”, European Journal of Philosophy. Vol. 8, 2000, no. 2. pp. 155-172.
  • Coehlo, Patterns of Intersubjectivity
  • Habermas, Juergen, “From Kant to Hegel and Back again,” European Journal of Philosophy 7 (2), 129-157
  • Oliver, Kelly, Witnessing and Testimony


  • Honneth on Gadamer/Heidegger
  • Ikaheimo on intersubjectivity in Hegel
  • Foster on morality and social identity in Hegel's Jena period

Texts on Reserve:

  • Theunissen, Michael, The Other
  • Habermas, Juergen, Theory of Communicative Action, Vol. II
  • Joas, Hans, Practical Intersubjectivity
  • Tugendhat, Ernst, Self-consciousness and Self-determination (lectures on Heidegger, Mead and Hegel)
  • Zahavi, Husserl and Transcendental Intersubjectivity
  • Gauthier, Jeffrey A., Hegel and Feminist Social Criticism: Justice, Recognition, and the Feminine (SUNY Series in Social and Political Thought)

Help for the Hegel-Section

Useful Links

Course Format

The course will be organized such that, ideally, each class period will include [i] "interactive" lecture, [ii] protocol discussion, class presentations [iii], and [iv] paper discussion. Students will be asked to study a certain text or part of a text for the next class period

Protocol (German tradition!)

The class protocol must in principle be about the readings for class and should cover our discussion in class. Protocols should have a length of around 2-4 pages (maximum: 4!) , and they will in and outside of the classroom force us to have an ongoing reflection on our texts that we study for class. They can also include problems or questions that the writers had either with our class discussion or with the texts itself. They should not be a simple copy of what I lectured about in class. Protocols should clarify and discuss the issues in question. Protocols have to be sent out to other students in class by email on every Monday. It is your responsibility to make sure that you received a protocol. I'll radically mark down late turn ins. The student who wrote the protocol will address questions during the first 20 minutes of the next class meeting, and he/she will lead the class discussion.

Class Presentation

Every student must produce a brief 5 page paper about one of the reading assignments, which has to be sent out by email the Monday before your actual presentation. Talk through your ideas and theses (15 minutes), take questions and lead a discussion about your paper and its topic. The function of this assignment is to learn how to critically examine someone else's ideas.

General Remark

Given that this is a graduate seminar, I expect self-motivation, autonomy, as well as self-responsibility. The attendance requires the willingness to do intensive research and the willingness to study the texts selected for class.


Everyone agreed to participate in a two day retreat for an intensive discussion of Husserl and Levinas to be held at the Ralph A. MacMullan Conference on Dec 2 and Dec 3.

Class Paper

The class essay should be well researched and should present a substantial reflection on one primary source selected for class (Hegel, Mead, Stern, Husserl, Levinas).

Paper Conference/Oral Examination

After you have turned in your paper we will discuss your paper in the form of an oral examination (30 minutes).

Course Evaluation

You will be evaluated on the basis of:

Protocol (3-4 pages) pass/fail
Brief Presentation/Paper (5 pages) pass/fail
Paper (12-15 pages) 60%
Paper Conference (30 minutes) pass/fail


4.0 100 - 93
3.5 92 - 87
3 86 - 82
2.5 81 - 77
2 76 - 72
1.5 7165
1.0 6460
0.0 < 60

GENERIC SYLLABUS (might not be applicable to each class)

Class Attendance

As mentioned above, I do not employ in my classes a class attendance policy. Having said this, you should be aware that class attendance is very important. When engaging in a philosophical and humanistic dialogue it is necessary to be an active and present participant in the ongoing discussion. If you miss class please do not email me asking if you missed anything important. Every class is important. You should get a study buddy for the class; a student in class who will inform you of what you missed. If you miss a class you can come to my office hours or make an appointment to discuss the material, providing you have read the material and you simply want to see if your understanding of the material is on target. Time in office hours will not be used to repeat the class lectures.

Grading Criteria

Click here to see my grading criteria for oral presentations (not required in this class)
Click here to see my grading criteria for papers (tentative)
Click here to see an EXAMPLE of my grading criteria for essay exams (taken from an older class)

Helpful information about oral presentations, paper writing and plagiarism

Click here to find help on your presentations and your writing

Online Research Sources

Unfortunately, some people think that the internet as such is a reliable source of information. If you decide to use online sources for additional information or your paper then do not just use one of the common internet search engines, such as Google; rather, use reliable academic sources, such as Britannica Online, or the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. The Internet Ecyclopedia of Philosophy isn't very good, but still acceptable. Check out MSU's library resources! And, as with other sources, you must cite any online sources to which you refer in your essay.

Writing Center Information

MSU's writing center offers excellent help on all matters regarding writing and learning. Check the website at for an overview and hours. For more information, please call 517.432.3610 or send an e-mail to


In any essay or exam answer submitted for assessment, all passages taken from other people's work must be placed within quotation marks, with specific reference to author, title and page. no excuse can be accepted for any failure to do so, nor will inclusion of the source in a bibliography be considered inadequate acknowledgement. If the marker decides that plagiarism has occurred, the student may be judged to have failed the class.

Academic Honesty

Article 2.3.3 of the Academic Freedom Report states that "The student shares with the faculty the responsibility for maintaining the integrity of scholarship, grades, and professional standards." In addition, the (insert name of unit offering course) adheres to the policies on academic honesty as specified in General Student Regulations 1.0, Protection of Scholarship and Grades; the all-University Policy on Integrity of Scholarship and Grades; and Ordinance 17.00, Examinations. (See Spartan Life: Student Handbook and Resource Guide and/or the MSU Web site: Therefore, unless authorized by your instructor, you are expected to complete all course assignments, including homework, lab work, quizzes, tests and exams, without assistance from any source. You are expected to develop original work for this course; therefore, you may not submit course work completed for another course to satisfy the requirements for this course. Also, you are not authorized to use the Web site to complete any course work in (insert course number here). Students who violate MSU rules may receive a penalty grade, including but not limited to a failing grade on the assignment or in the course. Contact your instructor if you are unsure about the appropriateness of your course work. (See also

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities should contact the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities to establish reasonable accommodations. For an appointment with a counselor, call 353-9642 (voice) or 355-1293 (TTY

Drops and Adds

The last day to add this course is the end of the first week of classes. The last day to drop this course with a 100 percent refund and no grade reported is (insert date). The last day to drop this course with no refund and no grade reported is (insert date). You should immediately make a copy of your amended schedule to verify you have added or dropped this course.

Note on Attendance

Students who fail to attend the first four class sessions or class by the fifth day of the semester, whichever occurs first, may be dropped from the course.

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