European Journal of Political Theory 13 (2):178-198 (2014)

Todd Hedrick
Michigan State University
This paper proposes reformulating the theory and critique of reification around the democracy-undermining consequences of reification in law. In contradistinction to Axel Honneth’s attempts to revive reification as an orienting concept for critical theory using moral and psychological categories, I reconstruct the elements of a theory of legal reification from Marx’s and Lukács’ writings, both of whom suggest the formality of modern legal systems tends to render legally mediated social relations in an ossified, nature-like manner, although I argue that neither could assemble a full theory of legal reification absent insights from the theory of constitutional democracy and legal realism. I close by arguing that it is fruitful to view reification as closely linked to modern legal practices because it grounds the concept in a way that avoids theoretical problems found in Lukács, as Honneth wishes, while connecting it to normative issues in law and democracy in a way that he does not
Keywords Marx  Lukács  Honneth  law  reification  legal realism  constitutional democracy
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1177/1474885113483286
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 65,740
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

What is Reification? A Critique of Axel Honneth.Timo Jütten - 2010 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 53 (3):235-256.
Verdinglichung als Pathologie zweiter Ordnung.Titus Stahl - 2011 - Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 59 (5):731-746.
Reification and Social Criticism.George Hull - 2013 - Philosophical Papers 42 (1):49 - 77.
The Colonization Thesis: Habermas on Reification.Timo Jütten - 2011 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 19 (5):701 - 727.
Cognition and Recognition: On the Problem of the Cognitive in Honneth.Piet Strydom - 2012 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 38 (6):591-607.
What is Reification? A Critique of Axel Honneth.Timo Jütten - 2010 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 53 (3):235-256.


Added to PP index

Total views
133 ( #83,042 of 2,462,780 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #449,387 of 2,462,780 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes