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.
In assembling the contributions to Recognition and Social Ontology, the editors aim to bring together "two contemporary, intensively debated fields of inquiry: Hegel-inspired theories of recognition (Anerkennung) and analytic social ontology" (1). Considering the difficulty of this goal, the collection does rather well overall. Robert Brandom, whose own work deeply embodies the analytic engagement with Hegel, provides the lead contribution. Brandom's chapter in turn provokes critical reactions in several subsequent chapters. A number of chapters attempt to show how Hegel can (...) inform analytic social philosophy. And chapters that do not explicitly focus on Hegel nonetheless contribute to the analysis of mutual recognition. (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)
Charles Taylor is one of the leading living philosophers. In this book Arto Laitinen studies and develops further Taylor's philosophical views on human agency, personhood, selfhood and identity. He defends Taylor's view that our ethical understandings of values play a central role. The book also develops and defends Taylor's form of value realism as a view on the nature of ethical values, or values in general. The book criticizes Taylor's view that God, Nature or Human Reason are possible constitutive (...) sources of value – Laitinen argues that we should drop the whole notion of a constitutive source. (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)
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)
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. 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. 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)
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 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)
Edited by Hans-Christoph Schmidt am Busch & Christopher Zurn. This volume collects original, cutting-edge essays on the philosophy of recognition by international scholars eminent in the field. By considering the topic of recognition as addressed by both classical and contemporary authors, the volume explores the connections between historical and contemporary recognition research and makes substantive contributions to the further development of contemporary theories of recognition.
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?
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)
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 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)
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)
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)