Matter(s) of Love: Natural Reciprocity in Hegel and Lanthimos

  • Agnese Di Riccio The New School for Social Research
Keywords: Hegel, Love, Lanthimos, Film Theory, Materiality, Recognition


Contemporary readings of the Hegelian concept of love move from the paradigm of recognition as an uncontroversial framework. Challenging this view, I will argue that Hegel’s philosophy offers better conceptual tools to reflect on the structure of erotic bonds. At first, I will discuss Hegelian love as a form of natural reciprocity, tied to the materiality of the lovers and of the external world (§1). I will then highlight the shortcomings of Axel Honneth’s recognitive account and turn to Paul Kottman for an alternative reading of love. Despite providing a valuable alternative, Love as Human Freedom risks obliterating the link between love and materiality (§2). To stress the relevance of this aspect, I will turn to Lanthimos’ film (The Lobster). Through its negative representation of love, the movie offers an indirect way of assessing the defining features of Hegel’s conception (§3).