To adopt a quote from the Preface of Seyla Benhabib’s first book, Critique, Norm, and Utopian: A Study of the Foundations of Critical Theory, my doctoral studies began “with a question and a suspicion.” My question, like that of Benhabib’s, concerns the plausibility of Jürgen Habermas’s effort to base the normative foundations of critical theory upon a moral theory of discourse. And again, like Benhabib, my suspicion concerns the possibility of developing an alternative normative foundation for critical theory. Unlike her careful analysis, which concludes “this suspicion has proved untenable,” I think my research suggests a viable alternative.1 In the following study I argue that a psychoanalytically informed rethinking of Habermas’s earlier work may assist in overcoming some of the stumbling stones and deadlocks of his later work. As a corollary, my re-visioning of Habermas’s early work may also be productive as a means of keeping alive the creative and provocative critical intuitions of the early Frankfurt School theorists.