This text represents an exploration of the possible significance of Bernard S. Cohn's 1980 essay, `History and Anthropology: The State of Play', for understanding the present of historical anthropology and its futures. My discussion has two aims: (1) to reflect on both Bernard S. Cohn's pedagogy and mode of inquiry; and (2) to explore the complexity and nuance of citationality as a generative principle within the constitution of historical anthropology's subject. Toward this, I examine Cohn's notion of `the colonial situation' (...) and reflect on how the emergence of the human sciences is intertwined with the proliferation of colonialism's enduring legacy within postcoloniality. (shrink)
This paper is discusses some central points in a dissertation for the degree of dr. phil., "Regulation as Productive Tool Use - a Participatory Observation in the Control Room of a District Heating System." An earlier version of the paper was presented by the author as part of the defense of the dissertation at Roskilde University Center June 14 2002. As suggested by the title, the dissertation was an empirical study of regulation in a control room. The object of the (...) authors participatory observation was how the operators in the control room followed rules when they regulated a highly automated plant. When I was shown the plant I was told that the technology ran smoothly and without error. Its control structures are based on formal logic and mechanical principles, all the same human beings are required in the control room to take care of anomalies. Among other things, the observations provide an opportunity to discuss the limitations of psychologies that study human beings on the basis of formal principles. The present paper focuses on two characteristic aspects of this discussion in the dissertation. First, it takes its point of departure in some practical problems of the control structures of the control room. It will demonstrate that the practical problems are problems of principle, and that formal principles are not adequate to study the object of human sciences, namely, human beings. Second, it sketches out what is required of a conception of human beings. As human beings are trusted to handle anomalies, we must explain how they are able to act on an incomplete understanding of the situation. And since they are able to identify what is wrong, we must explain how they develop new knowledge. The paper presented at the defense summarized the main arguments of the dissertation and alluded to an expansion of the main point using a particular instance. Here the weight is shifted to the latter expansion. (shrink)
In this paper I criticise Axel Honneth's reactualization of reification as a concept in critical theory in his 2005 Tanner Lectures and argue that he ultimately fails on his own terms. His account is based on two premises: (1) reification is to be taken literally rather than metaphorically, and (2) it is not conceived of as a moral injury but as a social pathology. Honneth concludes that reification is “forgetfulness of recognition”, more specifically, of antecedent recognition, an emphatic and (...) engaged relationship with oneself, others and the world, which precedes any more concrete relationship both genetically and categorially. I argue against this conception of reification on two grounds. (1) The two premises of Honneth's account cannot be squared with one another. It is not possible to literally take a person as a thing without this being a recognisable moral injury, and, therefore, I suggest that there are no cases of literal reification. (2) Honneth's account is essentially ahistorical, because it is based on an anthropological model of recognition that tacitly equates reification with autism. In conclusion, I suggest that any successful account of reification must (i) take reification metaphorically and (ii) offer a social-historical account of the origin(s) of reification. (shrink)
"Patterns of psychoanalysis and theory of recognition. Axel Honneth’s intersubjective psyche". An overview of the several scopes and patterns used over time by Axel Honneth in his “theory of recognition” is presented. After a discussion of the use of object relations theory (especially with reference to D.W. Winnicott’s contributions) in Honneth’s 1992 book Struggle for Recognition, the theoretical revision of psychoanalysis in light of his theory of recognition is examined. Finally, Honneth’s suggestion of a new alliance between a (...) renewed “critical theory” and psychoanalysis, which concerns also the dimension of political psychology, is discussed. -/- Viene offerta una panoramica sui differenti usi e le diverse forme di psicoanalisi utilizzate da Axel Honneth in relazione alla sua “teoria del riconoscimento” nel corso del tempo. Dopo una discussione dell’uso della teoria delle relazioni oggettuali (soprattutto nella concezione di D.W. Winnicott) in Lotta per il riconoscimento, del 1992, si prende in esame la revisione della psicoanalisi operata in termini di teoria del riconoscimento. Infine viene discussa la proposta di una nuova alleanza tra una “teoria critica” rinnovata e la psicoanalisi, che contempla anche il versante della psicologia politica. (shrink)
Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose? Not for Axel Honneth,whose Hegelian reconstruction sees freedom as the central, even sole, driving force of Western modernity. Other apparently central values are mere modifications of freedom. Nothin’ don’t mean nothin’ if it ain’t free. In his deliberately grand narrative, Honneth follows Hegel's Philosophy of Right in developing an account of social justice by means of an analysis of society. The end result is an outline of society in terms of (...) roles and ethical relations through which individuals can achieve freedom and self-realization.The construal is at the same time a description of the constitutive spheresof contemporary society, in terms of its less than fully realized potentialsand promises. In Hegelian parlance, the "rational" is in the process of becom-ing "actual" in modern history, but owing to misdevelopments and social pathologies, there is still ample room for social criticism, in light of the veryconcept that these institutions (are meant to) embody, namely, social freedom. (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.
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)
Em particular em seus textos anteriores a Luta por reconhecimento, Axel Honneth se vale com frequência do adjetivo substantivado "o social", sem jamais explicitar diretamente o significado que lhe atribui. Todavia, este conceito, sempre pressuposto, tanto está na base de sua conhecida crítica do déficit sociológico da tradição crítica frankfurtiana quanto orienta clandestinamente todo o desenvolvimento de sua obra até o modelo maduro da reconstrução normativa. Trata-se, aqui, de um esforço de torná-lo explícito enquanto compromisso social-ontológico assumido pela teoria (...) crítica honnethiana. Conclui-se que o social de Honneth é senão idêntico, ao menos coextensivo às normas se constituem a partir de interações de reconhecimento intersubjetivo, o que emprestará tanto a força relativa de seu modelo crítico quanto determinará seus limites. (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)
As teorias feministas de gênero passaram nas ultimas décadas de uma concepção pós-marxistas a partir dos novos estudos de cultura e identidade, baseando-se no movimento de redistribuição, para o de reconhecimento. Este artigo mostra esse processo de mudança de paradigma. Nele não se procura uma análise de gênero ampla o bastante para abrigar todas as variedades das preocupações feministas. Mostra a concepção de justiça de Nancy Fraser que abrange tanto a redistribuição quanto o reconhecimento, pois reparar a injustiça certamente requer (...) uma política de reconhecimento. Traz a ideia de Reconhecimento de Axel Honneth que estabelece os padrões de reconhecimento inter-sugestivo: o amor (que gera autoconfiança – amizade, relações no trabalho), o direito (auto-respeito) e a solidariedade (auto-estima - reconhecimento, interação social). Conclui-se com uma tentativa de conceitos de redistribuição e reconhecimento de Fraser e Honneth para contribuir na correção da má redistribuição ou o não reconhecimento de gênero. (shrink)
Reviews : John Rawls, Political Liberalism, ; Jürgen Habermas, Faktizität und Geltung: Beiträge zur Diskurstheorie des Rechts und des deomkratischen Rechtstaats, ; Axel Honneth, Kampf um Anerkennung: Zur moraliscben Grammatik sozialer Konflikte, ; Philosophy of Mind: Theory and Practice, ; Gunnar Skirbekk, Rationality and Modernity: Essays in Pbilosopbical Pragmatics, ; Charles Taylor, Multiculturalism and "The Politics of Recognition".
Axel Honneth draws a distinction between three types of recognition: (1) love, (2) respect and (3) social esteem. In his The Struggle for Recognition, the recognition of cultural particularity is situated in the third sphere. It will here be argued that the logic of recognition of cultural identity also demands a non-evaluative recognition, namely a respect for difference. Difference-respect is formal because it is a recognition of the value of a particular culture not "for society" or "as such", but (...) for the social group involved. Yet, although it is formal, difference-respect cannot be reduced to respect for personal autonomy and its preconditions, as Honneth wrongly suggests in Redistribution or Recognition? It is argued here that difference-respect is oriented towards another dimension of the person, namely social attachments. This kind of respect entails a separate register of formal recognition with a corresponding concept of personal identity and a parallel category of social disrespect. What morally justifies difference-respect from a recognition-theoretic approach is the practical relation-to-self that thus becomes possible, namely self-respect as a sense of belonging. The formal conception of the good life that Honneth articulates should include the insight that this sense of belonging is as much a necessary condition for the good life as is personal autonomy. (shrink)
This article presents and discusses Axel Honneth's theory of recognition as a specific constellation, i.e. as a theoretical endeavour spanning over and interrelating positions in the fields of anthropology, social theory, and politics. As essential components in this constellation I discern an anthropology of recognition, a social philosophy of different forms of recognition, a morality of recognition, a theory of democratic ethical life as a social ideal, and a notion of political democracy as an ambitious reflexive form of social (...) cooperation. A tentative attempt is also made to elucidate the motivational history that underlies and animates Honneth's theoretical endeavour and accounts for its specific 'spirit'. (shrink)
I provide a critique of Axel Honneth’s theory of recognition by calling into question the extent to which recognitive relations are immune to the effects of social and economic power and their ability to shape consciousness and moral cognition. I maintain that as a theory of socialization, Honneth’s theory is inadequate to deal with the strong structural-functional forces that hold administrative-capitalist societies together. This has the effect of constituting subjectivity in particular ways, and this problem of the constitution of (...) the personality and consciousness of individuals vitiates the descriptive and normative claims of the theory of recognition. I end by considering an alternative way to view recognition and its role in promoting a form of critical subjectivity. (shrink)
Axel Honneth: Critical Essays brings together critical interpretations of the work of Axel Honneth, from his earliest to his most recent writings, together with a comprehensive reply by Honneth that provides significant insights and clarifications into his project overall.
Critical adult education is inspired by Paulo Freire’s educational writings. For him, the aim of the pedagogy of the oppressed is to emancipate people from social and economic repression. Critical adult education is intellectual work that aims to make the world more just. One might ask what exactly justice and injustice mean here, however. Is the work against social injustice mainly concerned with the redistribution of material goods or recognition and respect? This is the issue debated by Nancy Fraser and (...)Axel Honneth. Honneth claims that in the context of social justice, recognition is a fundamental, overarching moral category and redistribution is derivative. Fraser denies that distribution could be subsumed under recognition and introduces a “perspectival dualist” analysis of social justice that considers the two categories as equally fundamental, mutually irreducible dimensions of justice. In this essay, Rauno Huttunen reflects on the relation between maldistribution and misrecognition, in order to think through critical adult education’s task in fighting against social injustice. (shrink)
The concept of respect plays a central role in several recent attempts to re-actualise the programme of a critical social theory. In Axel Honneth's most prominent version of that concept, respect is closely tied to the sphere of law, and it is limited to the recognition of a Kantian-type moral autonomy of the individual. So interpreted, the concept of respect can only have a very limited application in the field of education, where concern for the particular desires, intentions and (...) beliefs of mostly immature persons is at stake.However, more than forty years ago R. S. Peters did develop an extended concept of respect as a central component in education. This concept focuses exactly on those desires, intentions and beliefs, instead of on the very demanding capability of practical reasoning orientated towards the Kantian Categorical Imperative. My task in this paper is to explore the potential of Peters' concept of respect for the identification and description of educational pathologies and ultimately for the founding of a critical theory of education. (shrink)
This essay explores Axel Honneth‘s 1980 essay ―Work and Instrumental Action‖ with a view to revitalising its argument about the value of a critical conception of work activity. In his early essay, Honneth sought to reconstruct this critical conception of work, inspired by the philosophy of Marx, in an effort to generate a critique of Habermas‘s communicative social theory. Honneth doubted whether Habermas‘s core epistemological category of instrumental rationality could capture the normative significance of individual work activity. This generates (...) uncertainty over whether a critical theory with a communicative framework can locate the contribution of individual work activity in the process of social emancipation. After the publication of ―Work and Instrumental Action‖, Honneth‘s philosophy itself retreated from the critical conception of work in favour of the recognition-theoretic social theory that culminated in his influential 1992 work The Struggle for Recognition. My essay draws on evidence of the benefits of individual worker autonomy to argue that Honneth‘s theory of recognition itself could be enhanced through a reassessment of the critical conception of work activity that he proposed in his early essay. (shrink)
In this paper I criticise Axel Honneth's reactualization of reification as a concept in critical theory in his 2005 Tanner Lectures and argue that he ultimately fails on his own terms. His account is based on two premises: (1) reification is to be taken literally rather than metaphorically, and (2) it is not conceived of as a moral injury but as a social pathology. Honneth concludes that reification is ?forgetfulness of recognition?, more specifically, of antecedent recognition, an emphatic and (...) engaged relationship with oneself, others and the world, which precedes any more concrete relationship both genetically and categorially. I argue against this conception of reification on two grounds. (1) The two premises of Honneth's account cannot be squared with one another. It is not possible to literally take a person as a thing without this being a recognisable moral injury, and, therefore, I suggest that there are no cases of literal reification. (2) Honneth's account is essentially ahistorical, because it is based on an anthropological model of recognition that tacitly equates reification with autism. In conclusion, I suggest that any successful account of reification must (i) take reification metaphorically and (ii) offer a social-historical account of the origin(s) of reification. (shrink)
In dialogue with his interlocutor, Axel Honneth summarizes the way his work on recognition has unfolded over the past two decades. While he has retained his principal insights, some important parts of his theory have changed. He comments that if he were to rewrite The Struggle for Recognition today, he would focus more on institutions and the historicization of recognition patterns. He clarifies his stance on some contemporary controversial issues, including the crisis of capitalism, gay marriage, and his quarrel (...) with Peter Sloterdijk. Finally, he sheds some light on topics much discussed within Critical Theory, such as the relation between theory and praxis and the possibility of politicizing recognition, and on lesser-known aspects of his theory, namely, the relationship between his work and literature. (shrink)
In this paper, I take issue with Axel Honneth's proposal for renewing critical theory in terms of the normative ideal of 'self-realisation'. Honneth's proposal involves a break with critical theory's traditional preoccupation with the meaning and potential of modern reason, and the way he makes that break depletes the critical resources of his alternative to Habermasian critical theory, leaving open the question of what form the renewal of critical theory should take.
This paper analyses the model of interaction at the heart of Axel Honneth's social philosophy. It argues that interaction in his mature ethics of recognition has been reduced to intercourse between human persons and that the role of nature is now missing from it. The ethics of recognition takes into account neither the material dimensions of individual and social action, nor the normative meaning of non-human persons and natural environments. The loss of nature in the mature ethics of recognition (...) is made visible through a comparison with Honneth's initial formulation of his project. As an anthropology of intersubjectivity combining the teaching of the German philosophical anthropologists and G.H. Mead, his first model sought to ground social theory in the natural preconditions of human action. The last part of the article argues that a return to Mead's theory of practical intersubjectivity informed by Merleau-Ponty's germane theory of intercorporeity provides essential conceptual tools to enable the integration of the natural and the material within the theory of recognition. (shrink)
In 1910–11 Axel Hägerström introduced an emotive theory of ethics asserting moral propositions and valuations in general to be neither true nor false. However, it is less well known that he modified his theory in the following year, now making a distinction between what he called primary and secondary valuations. From 1912 onwards, he restricted his emotive theory to primary valuations only, and applied an error theory to secondary ones. According to Hägerström, secondary valuations state that objects have special (...) value properties, that we believe we become acquainted with in primary valuations. But, in fact, we do not have any such acquaintance. There are no, and cannot be any such, properties in objects. What we take to be a property is a projection of a feeling. Therefore, all secondary valuations are false. In 1917 he developed his theory further and distinguished between different types of secondary valuations with different structures. Yet he argued that they all are false. Hägerström's discussion is interesting because, among other reasons, it is historically a very early version of error theory in ethics. In a way it can also be said to be a precursor to later versions, e.g., John Mackie's (1946 and 1977). There are obvious resemblances between their accounts. Mackie's discussion is, of course, independent of Hägerström's. (shrink)
The origins of Axel Honneth's theory of recognition lie in his earlier project to correct the conceptual confusions and empirical shortcomings of historical materialism for the purpose of an adequate post-Habermasian critical social theory. Honneth proposed to accomplish this project, most strikingly, by reconnecting critical social theory with one of its repressed philosophical sources, namely anthropological materialism. In its mature shape, however, recognition theory operates on a narrow concept of interaction, which seems to lose sight of the material mediations (...) with which intersubjective relations are imbricated. The paper argues that a circumspect return to this twofold materialist heritage could substantively correct and enrich contemporary critical theory. The paper provides an illustration of this with the paradigmatic example of work. (shrink)