The Substance of Ethical Recognition: Hegel's Antigone and the Irreplaceability of the Brother

New German Critique 118 (2013)

Victoria I. Burke
Ryerson University
G.W.F. Hegel focuses his treatment of Sophocles' drama, Antigone , in the Phenomenology of Spirit, on the ideal of mutual recognition. Antigone was punished with death for performing the burial ritual honoring her brother, Polyneices, to whose irreplaceability she attests in her well-known speech of defiance. Hegel argues that Antigone's loss of Polyneices was the irreparable loss of reciprocal recognition. Only in the brother sister relation, Hegel thought, could there be equality in mutual recognition. I argue that this equality cannot be found in a marriage union with a husband or in the public sphere of civil society. Situating Hegel's account of marriage in the Philosophy of Right within the history of marriage and historical literature on the emerging market economy of Hegel's time, I demonstrate that Hegel's perception of equality in the reciprocal recognition of the brother sister relation was a function of both economic realities and his relationship with his sister, Christiane. I show desire in the Phenomenology to be the desire for dominance, and I show the brother sister relation to be free of desire.
Keywords Hegel  the family  history of marriage  recognition  Trust  Genuine  Love  religion  same-sex marriage
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 65,593
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
1 ( #1,515,477 of 2,462,067 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #448,768 of 2,462,067 )

How can I increase my downloads?


Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.

My notes