Social philosophy: A reconstructive or deconstructive discipline?

Philosophy and Social Criticism 38 (6):619-643 (2012)
Abstract
Social philosophy is a somewhat broad and imprecise term. In this article I discuss the social philosophy of Habermas, Foucault and Honneth, arguing that the latter’s work is an interesting, but not unproblematic, conception of the discipline. Following Habermas and Honneth, I argue that social philosophy should be reconstructive, but incorporate insights from Foucault. Specifically, reconstructive social philosophy can be both normative and descriptive, and at the same time establish a dialectical relationship between philosophy and the social sciences, thus fulfilling the ambition for social philosophy originally put forward by Horkheimer. The thesis I defend in this article is that reconstructive social philosophy in Habermasian or Honnethian fashion has the resources available to accomplish this ambitious task
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