Pathologies of Recognition: An Introduction


Authors
Heikki Ikaheimo
University of New South Wales
Arto Laitinen
University of Tampere
Abstract
This paper is an introduction to the special issue on Pathologies of Recognition. The first subsection briefly introduces the notion of recognition and trace its development from Fichte and Hegel to Honneth and his critics, and the second subsection turns to the concept of a social pathology. The third section provides a brief look at the individual papers. The special issue focuses on two central concepts in contemporary critical social theory: namely ‘recognition’ and ‘social pathology’. For defenders of a theory of recognition, adequate recognition is itself a key normative criterion for analysing social wrongs and pathologies which fall short of the ideal. For critics, the focus on recognition – even at its best – rather conceals social wrongs. While the contributors in this collection represent slightly different approaches, the general consensus amongst them is that recognition as such is a good ideal but like all good ideals it can go wrong in various ways and take pathological forms itself. In this introduction we focus first briefly on the concepts of recognition and social pathology, and finally present the papers of this special issue.
Keywords G.W.F. Hegel  Axel Honneth  Mutual Recognition  Social Pathology
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