Heikki Ikäheimo and Arto Laitinen (eds), Recognition and Social Ontology Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 134-137 Authors Sybol Cook Anderson, St. Mary's College of Maryland, USA Journal Critical Horizons: A Journal of Philosophy & Social Theory Online ISSN 1568-5160 Print ISSN 1440-9917 Journal Volume Volume 13 Journal Issue Volume 13, Number 1 / 2012.
This volume focuses on Hegel's philosophy of action in connection to current concerns. Including key papers by Charles Taylor, Alasdair MacIntyre, and John McDowell, as well as eleven especially commissioned contributions by leading scholars in the field, it aims to readdress the dialogue between Hegel and contemporary philosophy of action. Topics include: the nature of action, reasons and causes; explanation and justification of action; social and narrative aspects of agency; the inner and the outer; the relation between intention, planning, and (...) purposeful behaviour; freedom and responsibility; and self-actualisation. This book will appeal alike to Hegel scholars and philosophers of action. -/- List of Contributors: Katerina Deligiorgi, Stephen Houlgate, Dudley Knowles, Arto Laitinen, Alasdair MacIntyre, John Mcdowell, Francesca Menegoni, Dean Moyar, Terry Pinkard, Robert B. Pippin, Michael Quante, Constantine Sandis, Hans-Christoph Schmidt Am Busch, Allen Speight, Charles Taylor, Allen W. Wood. (shrink)
In this chapter I discuss Charles Taylor's and Paul Ricoeur's theories of narrative identity and narratives as a central form of self-interpretation.1 Both Taylor and Ricoeur think that self-identity is a matter of culturally and socially mediated self-definitions, which are practically relevant for one's orientation in life.2 First, I will go through various characterisations that Ricoeur gives of his theory, and try to show to what extent they also apply to Taylor's theory. Then, I will analyse more closely Charles Taylor's, (...) and in section three, Paul Ricoeur's views on narrative identity. (shrink)
In this paper I analyze interpersonal and institutional recognition and discuss the relation of different types of recognition to various principles of social justice (egalitarianism, meritarianism, legitimate favouritism, principles of need and free exchange). Further, I try to characterize contours of good autonomous life, and ask what kind of preconditions it has. I will distinguish between five kinds of preconditions: psychological, material, cultural, intersubjective and institutional. After examining what the role of recognition is among such preconditions, and how they figure (...) in the work of Axel Honneth, Nancy Fraser and Charles Taylor, I suggest a somewhat complex and hopefully rich picture of interpersonal and institutional recognition as a precondition of autonomous good life. (shrink)
This article suggests first that the concept of interpersonal recognition be understood in a multidimensional (as opposed to one-dimensional), practical (as opposed to symbolic), and strict (as opposed to broad) way. Second, it is argued that due recognition be seen as a reason-governed response to evaluative features, rather than all normativity and reasons being seen as generated by recognition. This can be called a response-model, or, more precisely, a value-based model of due recognition. A further suggestion is that there is (...) a systematic basis for distinguishing three dimensions of recognition, depending on whether recognition is given to someone qua a person, qua a certain kind of person, or qua a certain person. Finally, it is argued that recognition is a necessary condition of personhood, but whether it is of direct or indirect relevance depends on our theories of personhood (social vs. capacity-theory) and practical identity (dialogical definition model vs. feature-model). Despite the apparent opposition, it is shown that interpersonal recognition is both a response to value and a precondition of personhood. (shrink)
The aim of this book is to provide an in-depth account of Hegel’s writings on human action as they relate to contemporary concerns in the hope that it will encourage fruitful dialogue between Hegel scholars and those working in the philosophy of action. During the past two decades, preliminary steps towards such a dialogue were taken, but many paths remain uncharted. The book thus serves as both a summative document of past interaction and a promissory note of things to come. (...) We begin this introduction with some general words regarding the philosophy of action before singling out reasons for exploring Hegel’s thought in relation to it. We next present a brief overview of studies conducted to this day, followed by a thematic appraisal of the contributions appearing in this volume. (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)
In this paper I argue that moral realism does not, pace Charles Taylor, need “moral sources” or “constitutive goods”, and adding these concepts distorts the basic insights of what can be called “cultural” moral realism.1 Yet the ideas of “moral topography” or “moral space” as well as the idea of “ontological background pictures” are valid, if separated from those notions. What does Taylor mean by these notions?
This collection includes original papers on central philosophical questions concerning personhood. Before introducing the individual contributions, or the specific issues they tackle with, we would like to preliminarily clarify what this collection, as a whole, is about. Saying that the articles focus on personhood is not yet very informative since ‘person’ and ‘personhood’ are words with multiple and often quite unclear meanings. With these introductory remarks we wish to show that behind the multiplicity, there is a unified, even if complex (...) phenomenon, and that it is useful to grasp it synoptically as a whole. Consider the following question. What is the most important thing that you, me, and everyone like us, share and that distinguishes us from everything else? You and I are bound to be similar in many ways; but we are also bound to be different in many ways. Furthermore, you will most certainly consider some of our mutual similarities and differences more important than others, and so will I — and most certainly we will partly agree and partly disagree on what is more and what is less important in our similarities and differences. But is there any chance that we could agree upon a meaningful answer to the posed question: what is the most important thing that you, me, and everyone like us, have in common, and that distinguishes us from everything else? There are two prominent candidates for an answer upon which, initial scepticism settled, we might well end up agreeing on. The first candidate is that despite all our mutual differences, and abstracting from all of our less important similarities, we are humans. The second candidate is that despite all our mutual differences, and abstracting from all of our less important similarities, we are persons. (shrink)
This paper examines how three central aspects of personhood -- the capacities of individuals, their normative status, and the social aspect of being recognized -- are related, and how personhood depends on them. The paper defends first of all a 'basic view' that while actual recognition is among the constitutive elements of full personhood, it is the individual capacities (and not full personhood) which ground the basic moral and normative demands concerning treatment of persons. Actual recognition depends analytically on such (...) pre-existing normative requirements: it is a matter of responsiveness to them. The paper then discusses four challenges. The challenges claim that pace the basic view, the relevant capacities depend on recognition, that recognition seems to have normative relevance, and that the basic view cannot as such explain the equality either of persons, or of humans. Responding to these challenges amounts to refining the basic view accordingly. (shrink)
In this article, we want to show the relevance and importance of melancholy as an aesthetic emotion. Melancholy often plays a role in our encounters with art works, and it is also present in some of our aesthetic responses to the natural environment. Melancholy invites aesthetic considerations to come into play not only in well-defined aesthetic contexts but also in everyday situations that give reason for melancholy to arise. But the complexity of melancholy, the fact that it is fascinating in (...) itself, suggests the further thought that it may be considered as an aesthetic emotion per se. To this end, we argue that it is the distinctive character of melancholy, its dual character and its differences from sadness and depression, which distinguishes it as an aesthetic emotion. (shrink)
What is the ethical basis for democracy? What reasons do we have to go along with democratic decisions even when we disagree with them? When can we justly ignore democratic decisions? These three questions are intimately connected: understanding what is ultimately important about democracy helps us to understand the authority of democratic decisions over our personal views, and the limits of such authority. Thomas Christiano’s ambitious new book, The Constitution of Equality, aims to provide such an understanding through a discussion (...) of all three questions. Briefly put, in Christiano’s view, public equality is the moral foundation of both democracy and liberal rights, and it serves to explain the authority of democracy as well as its limits. The book aims first of all to ground the principle of public equality in a number of principles related to the nature of personhood, dignity, well-being and formal considerations of justice, on the one hand, and in the need for publicity for social justice, on the other (Chaps. 1 and 2). The book then aims to show how both democracy and basic liberal rights are grounded in the principle of public equality, which tells us that in the establishment of law and policy we must treat persons as equals in ways that they can see are treating them as equals (Chaps. 3 and 4). The account clarifies the nature and roles of adversarial politics and public deliberation in political life (Chap. 5). Finally, the book argues that democratic decisions have authority over personal views and that violations of democratic and liberal rights are beyond the legitimate authority of democracy, and that the creation of persistent minorities in a democratic society, and the failure to ensure a basic minimum for all persons weaken the legitimate authority of democracy (Chaps. 6 and 7). I shall begin by addressing Christiano’s view on the basis of equality, and then shall focus mainly on the central argument for public equality, democracy and its.. (shrink)
This paper examines Charles Taylor’s claim that personal identity is a matter of strong evaluations. Strong evaluations are in this paper analyzed as stable preferences, which are strongly identified with and which are based on qualitative distinctions concerning the non-instrumental value of options. In discussing the role of strong evaluations in personal identity, the focus is on "self-identity", not on the criteria of personhood or on the logical relation of identity. Two senses of self-identity can be distinguished: identity as practical (...) orientation and identity as self-definition in a more encompassing sense. The former consists of one’s strong evaluations only, the latter is a more comprehensive notion, in which strong evaluations have a double role. Strong evaluations are first of all directly a constituent of self-definitions, and secondly, self-definition with respect to other features proceeds in the light of the strong evaluations. (shrink)
This paper examines how three central aspects of personhood — the capacities of individuals, their normative status, and the social aspect of being recognized — are related, and how personhood depends on them. The paper defends first of all a ‘basic view’that while actual recognition is among the constitutive elements of full personhood, it is the individual capacities (and not full personhood) which ground the basic moral and normative demands concerning treatment of persons. Actual recognition depends analyti- cally on such (...) pre-existing normative requirements: it is a matter of responsiveness to them. The paper then discusses four challenges. The challenges claim that pace the basic view, the relevant capacities depend on recognition, that recognition seems to have normative rele- vance, and that the basic view cannot as such explain the equality either of persons, or of humans. Responding to these challenges amounts to refining the basic view accordingly. (shrink)
We consider the so-called problem of the many, formulated by Peter Unger. It arises because ordinary material things do not have precise boundaries: it is always possible to find borderline parts of which it is not true to say either that they are parts or that they are not. Unger’s conclusion is that there are no ordinary things at all. We describe the solutions of Peter van Inwagen and David Lewis, and make some critical comments upon them. After that we (...) present our own suggestion which is based on ideas developed by Leibniz in connection with problems of unity and plurality. We suggest that what the problem of the many teaches us is that in order to understand what ordinary things are, we have to take seriously the Leibnizian-Kantian distinction between phenomena and things-in-themselves. (shrink)
HR/AL: Professor Taylor, what are you working on these days? CT: Well, several things. One of the things I am working on is something I was lecturing this fall at the New School University, and that I have called ‘modern social imaginaries’. It is an attempt to understand western modernity in terms of the different ways in which people imagine their social existence. These imaginaries are a condition for new kinds of practices that are characteristic of modernity. This research is (...) an internal part of a larger project to understand modern secular civilization, the modern west as a secular civilization. What does that notion exactly mean? What does it amount to? How did it happen? (shrink)
In this paper I defend a ‘culturalist’ but nevertheless non-relativistic moral theory, taking Charles Taylor’s writings on this topic as my guide.1 Taylor is a realist concerning natural sciences, the ontology of persons and the ontology of goods (or meanings, significances or values). Yet, his realisms in these three areas differ significantly from one another, and therefore one has to be careful not to presuppose too rigid views of what realism must be like. Taylor’s moral realism can be called culturalist, (...) phenomenological, hermeneutical or even ‘expressivist’.2 According to culturalist moral realism, cognitivism is the correct view of our ordinary moral and evaluative reactions and responses to situations. In the realm of evaluative judgements, genuinely correct and incorrect (and better and worse) judgements are possible. These judgements can be implicit in our moral emotions and tacit agent’s knowledge, or more explicit in different articulations (section 1). What makes evaluative judgements correct are evaluative properties or ‘imports’ of the situation, and both the evaluative features of situations and our correct responses to them can be further understood in terms of a plurality of (conflicting and incommensurable) goods, ideals or values (section 2). The evaluative realm is not accessible from a disengaged perspective, but only from within an engaged, lifeworldly perspective. Evaluative properties are not merely a matter of subjective projection nor merely a matter of objective properties independent of valuers. Evaluative properties are relational, and neither the objective nor the subjective pole has priority (Section 3). The evaluative realm is in some sense dependent on social forms (concepts and practices), which are historically changing. Yet the validity of goods is (potentially) universal, goods that are valid in our culture would be valid in other cultures as well and vice versa. The correctness of evaluative judgements is not restricted by one’s own (or one’s culture’s) evaluations, framework or orientation (i.e.. (shrink)
The paper discusses the relation between chess and philosophy, examining, among other things, how far chess might reveal important features of philosophical problemanalysis and argumentation. There is a plurality of scientific, philosophical, and other perspectives from which chess can be viewed. Some attention must be drawn to these various ways of conceptualizing the game, but the main emphasis of the paper lies in uncovering certain philosophically- and metaphilosophically- relevant basic assumptions of chess. It is argued that the thought patterns and (...) reasoning procedures typical of chess seem to merge into those practised in philosophy. Moreover, we face in the common area of chess and other disciplines a multifarious possibility of research programmes, which promise to turn out useful both for the scientific and aesthetic understanding, and perhaps also for the chess tournament practice. Certain philosophical insights inspired by the practice of chess may lead us to transform our views about various complex human phenomena: not only about the nature of calculatory problem-solving and the relation between human intelligence and artificial intelligence, but also about ethical reasoning and even philosophical argumentation itself. (shrink)
This paper reconsiders the relation between Kantian transcendental reflection (including transcendental idealism) and 20th century philosophy of science. As has been pointed out by Michael Friedman and others, the notion of a "relativized a priori" played a central role in Rudolf Carnap's, Hans Reichenbach's and other logical empiricists' thought. Thus, even though the logical empiricists dispensed with Kantian synthetic a priori judgments, they did maintain a crucial Kantian doctrine, viz., a distinction between the (transcendental) level of establishing norms for empirical (...) inquiry and the (empirical) level of norm-governed inquiry itself. Even though Thomas Kuhn's theory of scientific revolutions is often taken to be diametrically opposed to the received view of science inherited from logical empiricism, a version of this basically Kantian distinction is preserved in Kuhn's thought. In this respect, as Friedman has argued, Kuhn is closer to Carnap's theory of linguistic frameworks than, say, W.V. Quine's holistic naturalism. Kuhn, indeed, might be described as a "new Kant" in post-empiricist philosophy of science. This article examines, first, the relativization of the Kantian a priori in Reichenbach's work, arguing that while Reichenbach (after having given up his original Kantianism) criticized "transcendentalism", he nevertheless retained, in a reinterpreted form, a Kantian-like transcendental method, claiming that the task of philosophy (of science) is to discover and analyze the presuppositions underlying the applicability of conceptual systems. Then, some reflections on Kuhn's views on realism are offered, and it is suggested that Kuhn (as well as some other influential contributors to the realism debate, such as Hilary Putnam) can be reinterpreted as a (relativized, naturalized) Kantian transcendental idealist. Given the central importance of Kuhnian themes in contemporary philosophy of science, it is no exaggeration to claim that Kantian transcendental inquiry into the constitutive principles of empirical knowledge, and even transcendental idealism (as the framework for such inquiry), still have a crucial role to play in this field and deserve further scrutiny. (shrink)
There is today a wide consensus that ‘recognition’ is something that we need a clear grasp of in order to understand the dynamics of political struggles, and, perhaps the constitution and dynamics of social reality more generally. Yet, the discussions on ‘recognition’ have so far often been conceptually rather inexplicit, in the sense that the very key concepts have remained largely unexplicated or undefined. Since the English word ‘recognition’ is far from unambiguous, it is possible, and to our mind also (...) actually the case, that different authors have meant partly different things with this word. In what follows, we will make a number of conceptual distinctions and clarificatory proposals that are meant to bring to sharper focus the field of phenomena that are being discussed under the catchword ‘recognition’. This is meant to serve a dual purpose: to suggest a number of distinctions which are of help in formulating rival views, and to propose what strikes us as the best overall position formulated in terms of those distinctions. (shrink)
This essay defends a three-dimensional response-model theory of recognition of persons, and discusses the related phenomenon of recognition of reasons, values and principles. The theory is three-dimensional in endorsing recognition of the equality of persons and two kinds of relevant differences: merits and special relationships. It defends a ‘response-model’ which holds that adequacy of recognition of persons is a matter of adequate responsiveness to situation-specific reasons and requirements. This three-dimen- sional response-model is compared to Peter Jones’s view, which draws the (...) distinction between status and merit recognition, and mediated and unmediated recognition. The essay discusses a number of questions related to how recognition of situation-specific reasons, and more general values and principles, is related to recognition of persons. The three- dimensional response-model of recognition of persons is in principle compatible with a constructivist view, which holds that the validity of values and principles is dependent on acknowledgement or endorsement. But even if one is a realist on that issue and thinks of validity as independent of acknowledgement, acknowledging relevant values, reasons and principles is a hugely important precondition of actual interpersonal recognition. The essay analyses these connections. (shrink)
This volume focuses on Hegel's philosophy of action in connection to current concerns. Including key papers by Charles Taylor, Alasdair MacIntyre, and John McDowell, as well as eleven especially commissioned contributions by leading scholars in the field, it aims to readdress the dialogue between Hegel and contemporary philosophy of action. Topics include: the nature of action, reasons and causes; explanation and justification of action; social and narrative aspects of agency; the inner and the outer; the relation between intention, planning, and (...) purposeful behaviour; freedom and responsibility; and self-actualisation. This book will appeal alike to Hegel scholars and philosophers of action. List of Contributors: Katerina Deligiorgi, Stephen Houlgate, Dudley Knowles, Arto Laitinen, Alasdair Macintyre, John Mcdowell, Francesca Menegoni, Dean Moyar, Terry Pinkard, Robert B. Pippin, Michael Quante, Constantine Sandis, Hans-Christoph Schmidt Am Busch, Allen Speight, Charles Taylor, Allen W. Wood. (shrink)
In the introduction to his Philosophical Papers 1&2 Charles Taylor assures us that his work, while encompassing a range of issues, follows a single, tightly knit agenda. He claims that the central questions concern "philosophical anthropology". Taylor's work on these questions has been presented piecemeal, in the form of articles and papers, and the student has had to imagine what a systematic monograph by Taylor on philosophical anthropology would look like. Neither Hegel, Sources of the Self, Ethics of Authenticity, Catholic (...) Modernity nor Varieties of Religion Today, nor Taylor's forthcoming books on secularization and modern social imaginaries are such treatises on the ontology of the human being. Nicholas H. Smith's monograph Charles Taylor: Meaning, Morals and Modernity (Polity, 2002) puts forward a clear and well-argued assessment of Taylor's entire project, with details on his intellectual biography and political engagement. For the purposes of thinking through Taylor's work so far, this book is probably the best one around. It is divided into eight chapters: "Linguistic Philosophy and Phenomenology", "Science, Action and the Mind", "The Romantic Legacy", "The Self and the Good", "Interpretation and the Social Sciences", "Individual and Community", "Politics and Social Criticism", and "Modernity, Art and Religion". The chapters are thematically ordered, but the order of presentation follows roughly the temporal order of Taylor's career. In this review article, I will begin with what Smith identifies as Taylor's organizing idea, and then focus on Smith's presentation of Taylor's transcendental argumentation concerning 'human constants'. As exemplars, I will discuss two of the.. (shrink)
This book focuses on the connections between two contemporary, intensively debated fields of inquiry: Hegel-inspired theories of recognition (Anerkennung)i and analytical social ontologyii. The aim of the collection is to make philosophical progress by bringing together the substantially overlapping but in practice so far mostly isolated debates in these fields. If recognition has social ontological significance, as it seems to have, how does taking this seriously fit with the analyses put forward in contemporary social ontology (or, as it is sometimes (...) called by some of the main proponents, “philosophical social theory”, or “philosophy of society”, or “philosophy of sociality”)? Are there ways in which theories of recognition and the current understandings in analytical social ontology could enrich one another? How do leading theorists in these fields, as well as younger scholars familiar with both fields, see the connections? (shrink)
The Philosophy Now series promises to combine rigorous analysis with authoritative expositions. Ruth Abbey’s book lives up to this demand by being a clear, reliable and more than up-to-date introduction to Charles Taylor’s philosophy. Although it is an introductory book, the amount of footnotes and references ought to please those who want to study the original texts more closely. Abbey’s book is structured thematically: morality, selfhood, politics and epistemology get 50 pages each. The focus is on the internal coherence of (...) Taylor’s work, not in its critique of or defence against other positions. The chapters are self-containing, but together they give a good total picture of Taylor’s position. The concluding chapter is a highly interesting preview of Taylor’s unpublished work-in-progress on secularity, which according to Abbey is comparable in magnitude to Sources of the Self. (shrink)
This introduction to certain mathematical topics central to theoretical computer science treats computability and recursive functions, formal languages and automata, computational complexity, and cruptography. The presentation is essentially self-contained with detailed proofs of all statements provided. Although it begins with the basics, it proceeds to some of the most important recent developments in theoretical computer science.
This unique collection examines the connections between two complementary approaches to philosophical social theory: Hegel-inspired theories of recognition (Anerkennung), and analytical social ontology.
My aim in this paper is to suggest that intentions are, as G. E. M. Anscombe puts it, not exclusively “private and interior” act-descriptions that agents alone determine. Rather, I argue that the true intention of an action is frequently constrained, and sometimes even determined, by the intersubjective and retrospective view of an action. I begin by offering an interpretation of Hegel’s account of intention in The Philosophy of Right—an interpretation that fits well with work by Charles Taylor and Michael (...) Quante, but not with a recent paper by Arto Laitinen. Next I offer examples that support the view—consistent with my reading of Hegel—that sometimes the intersubjective and retrospective account of an action trumps the agent’s prior subjective act-description. Finally, I suggest that the Hegelian view I sketch might be taken as a kind of externalism about intentions, on the order of externalism about epistemic justification. (shrink)