Over the last decade, Axel Honneth has established himself as one of the leading social and political philosophers in the world today. Rooted in the tradition of critical theory, his writings have been central to the revitalization of critical theory and have become increasingly influential. His theory of recognition has gained worldwide attention and is seen by some as the principal counterpart to Habermass theory of discourse ethics. In this important new volume, Honneth pursues his path-breaking work on (...) recognition by exploring the moral experiences of disrespect that underpin the conduct of social and political critique. What we might conceive of as a striving for social recognition initially appears in a negative form as the experience of humiliation or disrespect. Honneth argues that disrespect constitutes the systematic key to a comprehensive theory of recognition that seeks to clarify the sense in which institutionalized patterns of social recognition generate justified demands on the way subjects treat each other. This new book by one of the leading social and political philosophers of our time will be of particular interest to students and scholars in social and political theory and philosophy. (shrink)
Axel Honneth investigates an ambiguity in Gadamer's philosophical hermeneutics. In Truth and Method, Gadamer lays out key forms of reciprocal recognition. By means of them, he can subject historical transmission to normative appraisal. Gadamer makes the recognitional interaction relative only to an 'I' and 'Thou', omitting reference to an objective 'Third'. Honneth claims that Gadamer posits this restriction based on the influence of Heidegger's Mitwelt concept. Honneth claims, however, that Gadamer's model fails to explain the possibility of (...) a hermeneutic openness to agents who are not in close personal proximity to us. Instead, Honneth argues that the concrete other in I/Thou relations must be supplemented by a standpoint where the concrete and generalized other continually and reciprocally correct one another. Key Words: concrete other Gadamer generalized other Heidegger hermeneutics intersubjectivity recognition. (shrink)
In the early 20th century, Marxist theory was enriched and rejuvenated by adopting the concept of reification, introduced by the Hungarian theorist Georg Lukács to identify and denounce the transformation of historical processes into ahistorical entities, human actions into things that seemed part of an immutable "second nature." For a variety of reasons, both theoretical and practical, the hopes placed in de-reification as a tool of revolutionary emancipation proved vain. In these original and imaginative essays, delivered as the Tanner Lectures (...) at the University of California, Berkeley in 2005, the distinguished third-generation Frankfurt School philosopher Axel Honneth attempts to rescue the concept of reification by recasting it in terms of the philosophy of recognition he has been developing over the past two decades. Three distinguished political and social theorists: Judith Butler, Raymond Geuss, and Jonathan Lear, respond with hard questions about the central anthropological premise of his argument, the assumption that prior to cognition there is a fundamental experience of intersubjective recognition that can provide a normative standard by which current social relations can be judged wanted. Honneth listens carefully to their criticism and provides a powerful defense of his position. (shrink)
In the early 20th century, Marxist theory was enriched and rejuvenated by adopting the concept of reification, introduced by the Hungarian theorist Georg Lukacs to identify and denounce the transformation of historical processes into ahistorical entities, human actions into things that seemed part of an immutable "second nature." For a variety of reasons, both theoretical and practical, the hopes placed in de-reification as a tool of revolutionary emancipation proved vain. In these original and imaginative essays, delivered as the Tanner Lectures (...) at the University of California, Berkeley in 2005, the distinguished third-generation Frankfurt School philosopher Axel Honneth attempts to rescue the concept of reification by recasting it in terms of the philosophy of recognition he has been developing over the past two decades. Three distinguished political and social theorists: Judith Butler, Raymond Geuss, and Jonathan Lear, respond with hard questions about the central anthropological premise of his argument, the assumption that prior to cognition there is a fundamental experience of intersubjective recognition that can provide a normative standard by which current social relations can be judged wanted. Honneth listens carefully to their criticism and provides a powerful defense of his position. (shrink)
In the last thirty years of his life Kant was preoccupied with the question of whether or not the "signs of progress" could be elicited from the vale of tears of the historical process. In what follows I am interested in the question of what kind of meaning Kant's historico-philosophical hypothesis of progress can have for us today. In order to provide an answer to this question, I make a distinction between system-conforming and system-bursting, or unorthodox, versions of historical progress. (...) This distinction is made in order to show that only system-bursting versions of progress can prompt us to confer contemporary meaning on Kant's philosophy of history as a learning process that is conflict ridden and without illusions. (shrink)
It is always great good fortune for an author to have his writings meet with a receptive circle of readers who take them up in their own work and clarify them further. Indeed, it may even be the secret of all theoretical productivity that one reaches an opportune point in one's own creative process when others' queries, suggestions, and criticisms give one no peace, until one has been forced to come up with new answers and solutions. The four essays collected (...) here, in any event, jointly represent an ideal form of such a challenge: I am now compelled to make further theoretical developments and clarifications that lead me to a whole new stage of my own endeavours, well beyond what I initially had in mind in The Struggle for Recognition . For this reason, I will not concentrate here on interpretative issues regarding my earlier work but will instead take up the problems and challenges that have occasioned several revisions on my part. For this reason, it makes sense to begin (in section I) with the points that Carl-Göran Heidegren makes, in terms of a history of social theory, regarding my proposed theory of recognition. The issues that still motivate me today can best be expressed via an engagement with the conscientious interpretations he offers. The core of this rejoinder is based on Heikki Ikäheimo's and Arto Laitinen's suggestions and corrections, which they have used to develop my initial approach further, to the point where the theoretical outlines of a precise and general concept of recognition come into view. It is primarily these two contributions that helped me develop a productive elaboration of my originally vague intuitions (section II). By way of conclusion (in section III), I take up the penetrating questions raised by Antti Kauppinen regarding the use of the concept of recognition in the broader context of social criticism; he has compelled me to take on several extremely helpful clarifications, and they give me the opportunity, in conclusion, to summarize my overarching intentions. (shrink)
This paper attempts to articulate the common ground that could unite the different normative intuitions operative in the Green movement in Germany. The paper argues that only an extended conception of justice, one that would encompass references to nature, culture and the future, will be able to build a bridge between these different intuitions. However, caution must be exercised in the application of this extended conception of justice so that the worst-off are in each case the first targeted by it.
This paper pursues two questions derived from psychoanalysis that are central to the theory of recognition: must the image or force of negativity classically derived from Freud necessarily be thought of as an elementary component of human beings equipped with drives? Or, can this image or force of negativity be conceptualised as an unavoidable result of the unfolding processes of internalised socialisation? The first question is pursued in a consideration of its legacy for the older representatives of the Frankfurt School, (...) whilst the second question is pursued for its contribution to the theory of recognition that places the force of negativity within the domain of the social and not in a theory of the drives. (shrink)
In face of the postmodern ideal of a 'mutiple' subject, there has been talk at regular classical psychoanalysis's normative orientation toward intervals since the end of the the ego's capacity to cope consistently with reality may Second World War of psy seem obsolete. However, a psychoanalytic theory choanalysis being obsolete. which is revised in the light of object-relations theory, In these fields - where the integrationist social psychology, and an intersubjectivist notion is not just an ideolo account of the formation (...) of the drives can answer the gical weapon - this signifies postmodern challenge. According to this alternative the tendency of a growing psychoanalytic view, the goal of a 'healthy' development discrepancy said to have of personality is a state of an inner capacity for dialo opened up between the origue, able to account normatively for altering forms of ginal and the current socio-ego-identity under changing social conditions. (shrink)
Among the various attempts that have been undertaken today to reformulate critically the idea of European modernism, Alessandro Ferraras book certainly represents one of the most radical. In contrast to other approaches, which rather depart from a competition of various sources of ideas, Ferrara sets forth a single principle that should be able to provide us with an appropriate and future-regarding self-under-standing of the intellectual situation of present modernity. Its key concept is authenticity that, in opposition to all other principles (...) of validity so far, possesses a priority since it brings most clearly to expression who we actually want to be (p. 162ff.). Before I briefly discuss a few questions that are connected with this thesis, I want first to try to understand the claims underpinning the project as a whole. Only then will I thereby be in a position to lay out those points of view that place doubt upon on the whole project. (shrink)
The notions 'worldview' and 'social identity' are examined to consider whether they contribute substantively to causal sequences or networks or thought clusters that result in group acts executed intentionally. ... Three proposed explanaitons of sectarian conflict or ethnic violence are analysed as examples of theories that causally link intenitonal group behaivour to the worldviews and social identities of the individual agents directly involved. But as will be shown, it is not a priori features of worldivews and identities as such, but (...) historically specific facts and contingent circumstances that need to be examined in order to explain group-motivated behaviour. Reference to worldviews and identities detract from adequate explanation. (shrink)
The paper explores the philosophical anthropology and the moral grammar of recognition. It does so by examining how the formation of the self is informed by social recognition, the result of which can motivate individuals and groups to engage in struggles for recognition. To pursue this task, the discussion focuses on the insights of Honneth, who grounds his theory of recognition in the intersubjective relations between persons. The idea that recognition impacts the formation of personal identity is regarded as (...) susceptible to the charge of reducing recognition demands into demands for satisfying psychological needs. Contrary to this worry, the central claim of the paper is that such an identity-based understanding of recognition can still be salvaged. More precisely, this can be done by conceiving of demands of recognition as demands for inclusion into personhood through which the moral dimension of recognition struggles is properly understood. This article concludes that despite its potential ambiguities, the notion of personhood and its relation to recognition remains philosophically defensible. (shrink)
In this paper, I consider succinctly the main Marxist objections to Honneth’s model of critical social theory, and Honneth’s key objections to Marx-inspired models. I then seek to outline a rapprochement between the two positions, by showing how Honneth’s normative concept of recognition is not antithetical to functionalist arguments, but in fact contains a social-theoretical dimension, the idea that social reproduction and social evolution revolve around struggles around the interpretation of core societal norms. By highlighting the social (...) theoretical side of recognition, one can outline a model of critical social theory that in fact corresponds to the descriptive and normative features outlined by Marx himself. However, the price of this rapprochement for Honnethian critical theory is a greater emphasis on the division of labour as the central mechanism of social reproduction. (shrink)
An individual is in the lowest phase of moral development if he thinks only of his own personal interest and has only his own selfish agenda in his mind as he encounters other humans. This lowest phase corresponds well with sixteenth century British moral egoism which reflects the rise of the new economic order. Adam Smith (1723–1790) wanted to defend this new economic order which is based on economic exchange between egoistic individuals. Nevertheless, he surely did not want to support (...) the moral theory of British egoism. His book The Wealth of Nations suits well into the world view of British moral egoism, but in the book The Theory of Moral Sentiments, he presents a moral theory which is the total opposite of moral egoism. Contemporary German intellectuals saw contradiction in Adam Smith’s moral (social) philosophy which they called as Das Adam - Smith - Problem . Smith himself didn’t think that there is any contradiction in a situation where in economic sphere (civil society) individual act egoistically and in ethical sphere (encounter with the imagined Other) he feels humanity and compassion toward his fellow men. Hegel was a passionate reader of Adam Smith and he acknowledged Das Adam - Smith - Problem . He set the task of his social philosophy to overcome this paradox. He wanted to create a theory of a social totality where economic egoism and feelings of humanity are not in contradiction. In the same time Hegel wanted to create a theory on Bildung process where human spirit develops from moral un-freedom (heteronomy) to moral freedom and maturity (autonomy) taking care both aspect of love and reason. In certain Hegel’s texts notion of recognition plays crucial role. That is why modern Hegelians Ludwig Siep, Axel Honneth and Robert Williams consider the notion of recognition to be elementary in Hegel’s threefold theory of developing human spirit from family via civil society to sittliche state . For Hegel family is a sphere where people love their “concrete other” and where feeling surpasses reason. Civil Society is a sphere of private contracts and economic exchanges where cold egoistic and calculative reason surpasses feelings. In the sphere of State the contradiction between family and Civil Society ( Das Adam - Smith - Problem ) is solved by “rational feeling”. According to Hegel State should protect citizens from alienating effect of egoistic reason of Civil Society and cultivate “family-feelings” to rational feelings which integrate citizen into “sittliche community” through reciprocal process of recognition. In this article I want to consider Hegelians Honneth’s and Williams’s relevance to the theory of moral development. (shrink)
L’objet de la philosophie sociale développée ces dernières années par Honneth, le successeur d’Habermas à Francfort, est de penser la vie sociale comme intrinsèquement conflictuelle et de montrer que ce conflit ne la détruit pas parce qu’elle est animée par une lutte pour la reconnaissance. Celle-ci se décline en trois grandes formes, l’amour, le droit et la solidarité, qui conditionnent la découverte et l’épreuve que chacun fait comme individu (confiance), comme personne (respect) et comme sujet (estime). Réduit à trois (...) aspects principaux, le mépris subi par chacun atteint l’une ou l’autre de ses relations pratiques. Il lui révèle la forme de reconnaissance dont il manque et le précipite dans la lutte. La philosophie sociale d’Honneth met donc à jour la dimension morale des luttes sociales. (shrink)
O artigo apresenta os argumentos centrais da política deliberativa de Jürgen Habermas (1), e as perspectivas críticas de Axel Honneth (2) e Nancy Fraser (3) de forma a conferir à política habermasiana uma dimensão mais realista, um conteúdo político de vínculo mais concreto com a orientação emancipatória da práxis, e capaz de lidar melhor com a diferença, a diversidade e o conflito.
This article focuses on multiculturalism in the context of present-day societies and the need to incorporate minorities within a reframed social order. In his critical theory, Axel Honneth rightly draws attention to the idea of the moral grammar of struggles for recognition. Analyzing his theory in depth, the article shows that Honneth underestimates the violent power of ideological discourse in marginalizing and excluding society’s others, e.g. cultural minorities. It then puts forward an alternative approach based on Ricœur’s creative (...) and original reflections on ideology and utopia. For the incorporation of cultural minorities to occur, the symbolic order of society needs to be critiqued, transformed and expanded. From this perspective, the author highlights the subversive and transformative strength of utopian counter-narratives. The latter form a vital resource for cultural minorities in their struggle for recognition. (shrink)
Philosophy of Science is a mid-level text for students with some grounding in philosophy. It introduces the questions that drive enquiry in the philosophy of science, and aims to educate readers in the main positions, problems and arguments in the field today. Alex Rosenberg is certainly well qualified to write such an introduction. His works cover a large area of the philosophy of natural and social sciences. In addition, the author of the argument that the ‘queen of the social (...) sciences’, economics, is not a science at all, can be counted on to show how the philosophy of science can be relevant to the understanding of the status of scientific knowledge and can provide a critical assessment of practitioners’ view of their field. (shrink)
A lively and engaging collection which explains the various strands of political theory, identifies key futures trends and explores the foundations of contemporary debate. Features interviews with pre-eminent theorists, including Quentin Skinner, Carole Pateman and AlexHonneth.