Inwardness and Existence: Subjectivity in/and Hegel, Heidegger, Marx, and Freud

Book cover: “Inwardness and Existence: Subjectivity in/and Hegel, Heidegger, Marx, and Freud”


“If the book we are reading
does not wake us up,
as with a fist hammering on our skull,
why then do we read it?”

    —  Kafka (from the epigraph)

Inwardness and Existence accomplishes what no book before or after has even approximated: it demonstrates with great lucidity and insight the shared philosophical project that animates psychoanalysis, Marxism, existentialism, and Hegelian dialectics. Davis roots the reader in the enterprise of questioning what is given and probing beyond what is safe in order to demonstrate that psychoanalytic inquiry, Marxist politics, existential reflection, and dialectical connection all move within the same orbit. No one who reads it will ever think about existence itself in the same way again. Davis’s landmark work will profoundly transform anyone who reads it.”

Todd McGowan, author of The Real Gaze: Film Theory after Lacan

“Davis takes the historical strains between determinism and agency, content and process, inwardness and the external (or historical contingency and processsual immediacy) into dynamic, rupturing explorations of categories which provoke the reader’s analytic process. His writing is elegant and energetic, saturated with stress, the heady rush of analysis, and the challenges of hard work.”

Leighton Brooks McCutcheon, Journal of Mind and Behavior

“Praiseworthy because it grapples with the fundamental assumptions of these competing traditions, and does so with clarity and conviction.”

David M. Thompson, Philosophy and Literature

For more information regarding publicity and reviews, contact University of Wisconsin Press publicity manager, phone: (608) 263-0734; email: [email protected]. To purchase, visit University of Wisconsin Press or

Read excerpts: “Hegel: The Contemporary of the Future” and “The Drama of the Psychoanalytic Subject”

Additional Information:

Purchase details:

424 pp. 6 x 9
ISBN-13: 978-0-299-12014-6
Paper $24.95 s
visit: University of Wisconsin Press or


Chapter 1: “Hegel: The Contemporary of the Future”
Chapter 4: “The Drama of the Psychoanalytic Subject”

Table of Contents:

Introduction: Toward a Hermeneutics of Engagement   3
1. Hegel: The Contemporary of the Future   8
A Farewell to Epistemology: Reflection on Hegel's Concept
of Consciousness   8
Self-Consciousness: The Spirit That Cuts Back into Life   25
2. Existentialism: The Once and Future Philosophy107
The Experience of the Existential Subject   107
Dialectical Ontology of the Existential Subject   137
3. Subject in a Marxism without Guarantees173
The Dialectic of Subject within Marxism   173
Capitalizing on Inwardness: A Nondialectical Comedy   211
4. The Drama of the Psychoanalytic Subject232
On Catching Up with Oneself   232
Basic Psychoanalytic Concepts Dramatistically Reinterpreted   266
5. Methodology Is Ontology: Dialectic and Its Counterfeits314
Dialectic as Discourse   314
Dialectic as Process   326
Dialectic as System: Its Content and Ground   349