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)
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)
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)
Having a sense of dignity is one of the core emotions in human life. Is our dignity, and accordingly also our sense of dignity under threat in elderly care, especially in robotic care? How can robotic care support or challenge human dignity in elderly care? The answer will depend on whether it is robot-based, robot-assisted, or teleoperated care that is at stake. Further, the demands and realizations of human dignity have to be distinguished. The demands to respect humans are based (...) on human dignity and the inalienable high and equal moral standing that everyone has. For human moral agents, these demands take the form of negative and positive duties. For robots, they arguably take the form of corresponding ought-to-be norms. The realizations of dignity consist in variable responses to these demands, by oneself by others, and by society at large. This article examines how robot-based, robot-assisted, and teleoperated care can amount to realizations of dignity. The varieties of robotic care can, in different ways, be responsive to the demands of dignity and recognize humans as vulnerable beings with needs, as autonomous agents, and as rational subjects of experience, emotion, and thought. (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)
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)
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)
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.
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)
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 this paper we propose a new interpretation of Hegel's views on action and responsibility, defending it against its most plausible exegetical competitors.1 Any exposition of Hegel will face both terminological and substantive challenges, and so we place, from the outset, some interpretative constraints. The paper divides into two parts. In part one, we point out that Hegel makes a number of distinctions which any sensible account of responsibility should indeed make. Our aim here is to show that Hegel at (...) least has the materials for a sensible and nuanced account, whatever the precise details of how they hang together. Part two then turns to a hard question concerning the relation of two different aspects of our deeds to responsibility. We consider five alternate ways of relieving the tension in Hegel's text, before putting forth our own preferred solution. (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)
`Due recognition is a vital human need', argues Charles Taylor. In this article I explore this oft-quoted claim from two complementary and equally appealing perspectives. The bottom—up approach is constructed around Axel Honneth's theory of recognition, and the top—down approach is exemplified by T. M. Scanlon's brief remarks about mutual recognition. The former can be summed up in the slogan `wronging by misrecognizing', the latter in the slogan `misrecognizing by wronging'. Together they provide two complementary readings of the claim that (...) due recognition is a vital human need: one starts from needs, shows how we have a multifarious need for adequate recognition and builds up to a view about wronging; the other starts from wronging and discusses the kind of interest or need that we have of standing in relations where wronging is absent. (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)
This paper critically examines Christopher Zurn’s suggestion mentioned above that various social pathologies (pathologies of ideological recognition, maldistribution, invisibilization, rationality distortions, reification and institutionally forced self-realization) share the structure of being ‘second-order disorders’: that is, that they each entail ‘constitutive disconnects between first-order contents and secondorder reflexive comprehension of those contents, where those disconnects are pervasive and socially caused’ (Zurn, 2011, 345-346). The paper argues that the cases even as discussed by Zurn do not actually match that characterization, but that (...) it would be premature to conclude that they are not thereby social pathologies, or that they do not have a structure in common. It is just that the structure is more complex than originally described, covering pervasive socially caused evils (i) in the social reality, (ii) in the first order experiences and understandings, (iii) in the second order reflection as discussed by Zurn, and also (iv) in the ‘third order’ phenomenon concerning the pre-emptive silencing or nullification of social criticism even before it takes Place. -/- Research Interests: Critical Theory, Social Theory, Political Theory, Recognition - Social Pathologies, Axel Honneth, Mutual recognition and Dani Zubair . (shrink)
The essays in this volume offer a range of new perspectives on Charles Taylor's philosophy. Part one addresses key metaphilosophical themes such as the role of transcendental arguments, the critique of representationalism, and the dialectics of Enlightenment. Part two critically examines Taylor's views on personhood, selfhood and interpersonal recognition. Part three discusses issues in Taylor's moral and political theory, including the nature of his moral realism, his theory of modernity, and his critical appropriation of the liberal tradition. The book concludes (...) with an interview with Taylor in which he summarizes his work and comments on some key contemporary issues. (shrink)
In this collection, philosophers, social psychologists, and social scientists approach contemporary social reality from the viewpoint of solidarity. They examine the nature of solidarity and explore its normative and explanatory potential.
This essay discusses Hegel’s theory of “abstract” respect for “abstract” personhood and its relation to the fuller, concrete account of human personhood. Hegel defines (abstract) personhood as an abstract, formal category with the help of his account of free will. For Hegel, personhood is defined in terms of powers, relations to self and to others. After analyzing what according to the first part of Philosophy of Right it is to (abstractly) respect someone as a person, the essay discusses the implications (...) for private property and market. Then the paper turns to discuss pathologies of ideologies that stress these aspects only. Finally, the essay discusses the way inwhich Hegel’s full social theory aims to overcome such pathological tendencies; most notably in his theory of Family and the State. (shrink)
The idea that there are representations with a double direction of fit has acquired a pride of place in contemporary debates on the ontology of institutions. This paper will argue against the very idea of anything at all having both directions of fit. There is a simple problem which has thus far gone unnoticed. The suggestion that there are representations with both directions of fit amounts to a suggestion that, in cases of discrepancy between a representation and the world, both (...) should change—the representation and the world. But that would merely amount to another discrepancy, and so both should change again, ad infinitum. The paper will first elucidate the notion of a “direction of fit” and clarify how the criticism to be presented here differs from earlier criticisms (Section 1).The next section sheds some light on why and how acts and attitudes with both directions of fit have seemed to play a part in explaining the existence of institutional reality (Section 2). The next sections present the argument against any representations with both directions of fit, relying on a normative understanding of the distinction. The argument will have three steps (Sections 3, 4, and 5). The section that follows shows that the criticism also applies to the dispositional understanding of the notion of a direction of fit (Section 6), and then the paper asks whether a third kind of reading would be available (Section 7) and whether the infallibility of the relevant representations would be of help (Section 8). Finally, the paper assesses briefly the consequences of dropping the notion of two directions of fit (Section 9). (shrink)
This study compares Philip Pettit’s account of freedom to Hegelian accounts. Both share the key insight that characterizes the tradition of republicanism from the Ancients to Rousseau: to be subordinated to the will of particular others is to be unfree. They both also hold that relations to others, relations of recognition, are in various ways directly constitutive of freedom, and in different ways enabling conditions of freedom. The republican ideal of non-domination can thus be fruitfully understood in light of the (...) Hegelian structure of ‘being at one with oneself (Beisichsein) in another’. However, while the Hegelian view converges with Pettit on non-domination and recognition, their comprehensive theories of freedom are based on radically different metaphysics. One key difference concerns the relationship between freedom and nature, and there is a further difference between Pettit’s (ahistorical) idea of the concept dependence of freedom, and the Hegelian (historical) idea of the conception dependence of freedom. -/- Keywords: Pettit; Hegel; freedom; non-domination; mutual recognition; republicanism; ‘being at one with oneself’; social freedom. (shrink)
This essay examines Paul Ricœur’s views on recognition in his book The Course of Recognition . It highlights those aspects that are in some sense surprising, in relation to his previous publications and the general debates on Hegelian Anerkennung and the politics of recognition. After an overview of Ricœur’s book, the paper examines the meaning of “recognition” in Ricœur’s own proposal, in the dictionaries Ricœur uses, and in the contemporary debates. Then it takes a closer look at the ideas of (...) recognition as identification and as “taking as true.” Then it turns to recognition (attestation) of oneself, in light of the distinction between human constants (and the question “What am I?”), and human variables (and the question “Who Am I?”). The last section concerns the dialectics of struggles for recognition and states of peace, and the internal relationship between the contents of a normative demand and what counts as satisfying the demand. . (shrink)
Social esteem, based on contributions the common good, or to the good of others, is an important phenomenon, and following Axel Honneth, it can be seen as an important subspecies of interpersonal recognition, side by side with respect and love. In this paper we will contrast two accounts of this phenomenon, hoping that this kind of cross-illumination will prove useful by clarifying a number of conceptual questions and options that one needs to be conscious of indiscussions about esteem as a (...) form of recognition. (shrink)
Misrecognition from other individuals and social institutions is by its dynamic or ‘logic’ such that it can lead to distorted relations-to-self, such as self-hatred, and can truncate the development of the central capabilities of persons. Thus it is worth trying to shed light on how mis recognition differs from adequate recognition, and on how mis recognition might differ from other kinds of mistreatment and disregard. This paper suggests that mis recognition (including nonrecognition) is a matter of inadequate responsiveness to the (...) normatively relevant features of someone (their personhood, merits, needs etc.), and that if the kind of mistreatment in question obeys the general dynamic or ‘logic’ of mutual recognition and relations-to-self, then it may be called ‘misrecognition’. Further, this article considers the multiple connections between misrecognition and human fallibility. The capacity to get things wrong or make mistakes (that is, fallibility) is first of all a condition of misrecognition. Furthermore, there are two lessons that we can draw from fallibility. The first one points towards minimal objectivism: if something is to count as a mistake or incorrect response, there must accordingly exist a fact of the matter or a correct response. The other lesson points towards public equality: if our capacity to get things right on our own is limited, then public, shared norms will probably help. Such norms are easier to know and follow than objective normative truths, and they may contain collective cumulative wisdom; and of course the process of creating public norms embodies in itself an important form of mutual recognition between citizens. (shrink)
"The Nordic welfare states have arguably been successful in terms of social solidarity – although the heavily institutional and state-driven solutions as opposed to community- or family-based ones in various issues from child to elderly care may have made it seem as mere ‘quasi-solidarity’ in comparison to more communitarian ideals. This essay approaches such social solidarity in terms of Axel Honneth’s recognition-theoretical framework – arguing that there’s much more potential in Honnethian ideas of recognition and esteem than in Honneth’s official (...) view in Struggle for Recognition linking social solidarity only to social esteem based on contributions to the shared good. The first section briefly introduces Honneth’s three forms of recognition and also distinguishes social solidarity from other relevant notions of solidarity. It points out that there is far from perfect overlap between the ideas of social solidarity and social esteem. Of the three main forms of Honnethian recognition, one can link the notion of social solidarity to respect and care as well, and not primarily to esteem. In the final section these forms of mutual recognition will be discussed in the context of justifying basic income which arguably institutionalises high solidarity, yet is prima facie more straightforward to justify in terms of respect or care than in terms of esteem. The reason is that esteem is supposed to be conditional on differential merits, capacities, contributions or achievements whereas basic income is supposed to be unconditional. Furthermore, section two points out that there may be varieties of esteem and some of such varieties of “politics of esteem” may not that centrally be related to social solidarity. It distinguishes between three contexts of social esteem. One is related to the minimum standing as free from discrimination in terms of disesteem, another is related to one’s being a contributor to the shared social ends in some publicly defined role, and the third is related to excellence in one’s personal projects of self-realisation. The third section articulates some challenges to any kind of ‘politics of esteem’: how to decide whether something is or is not esteem? How would a good society respond to these kinds of cases – especially ones compatible with the modern universalistic ethos? What to think of the positive duties and permissions to engage in the “esteem services” of actually forming opinions and giving recognition? And finally, how to see the relation between social esteem and social solidarity? The sections four to six then go through the three kinds of cases (non-discrimination, contributions, self-realisation), answering the four questions: is this really a kind of esteem? Is it compatible with the ethos of universalism? How to distribute the related duties and permissions? How is it related to social solidarity? These sections map the ethical and political consequences of the claim that full human agency is dependent on positive relations to self, including self-esteem, and that these relations are deeply dependent on the recognition from other individuals and institutions such as the state. The basic Honnethian idea is that a good society is sensitive to the dynamics of self-relations and recognition. For example, the invisible housework by women should get due recognition, and welfare services should not be delivered in a stigmatising or demeaning fashion as stigmatising practices may lead to an internalised sense of inferiority and low self-esteem. Section seven finally takes up the question of basic income in light of the various forms of recognition and esteem, to be followed by a brief conclusion. ". (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)
In this chapter I distinguish between a) recognition of persons, b) normative acknowledgement and c) institution-creating acceptance. All of these go beyond a fourth, merely descriptive sense of the word “recognition,” namely identiﬁcation or re-identiﬁcation of something as something. I distinguish four aspects of "taking someone as a person": R1 A Belief that the other is a person, and can engage in agency-regarding relations.R2 Moral Opinion that the choice whether and when to engage with persons is ethically signiﬁcant.R3 Willingness to (...) refrain from wronging the other person, and to respond adequately to the normatively relevant features of the other (regardless of whether the willingness is ultimately selﬁsh or not).R4 Unselﬁsh Recognitive Attitudes explaining such willingness; such as genuine respect or genuine concern or solidarity. The second section asks: is mutual recognition between individuals necessary, sufﬁcient, paradigmatic or desirable for group agency? I also ask: is interaction or communication necessary for mutual recognition? I also ask what kinds of groups emerge from mutual recognition as persons? The third section studies more briefly acknowledgement and normativity (Reasons, Values, and Principles). The fourth section discusses the nature of acceptance necessary for the existence of institutions. -/- . (shrink)
After characterizing Taylor’s general approach to the problems of solidarity, we distinguish and reconstruct three contexts of solidarity in which this approach is developed: the civic, the socio-economic, and the moral. We argue that Taylor’s distinctive move in each of these contexts of solidarity is to claim that the relationship at stake poses normatively justified demands, which are motivationally demanding, but insufficiently motivating on their own. On Taylor’s conception, we need some understanding of extra motivational sources which explain why people (...) do (or would) live up to the exacting demands. Taylor accepts that our self-understanding as members of either particular communities or humanity at large has some motivational power, but he suspects that in many cases the memberships are too thin to resonate deeply and enduringly within us. In Taylor’s view, a realistic picture of what moves people to solidarity has to account for the extra motivation, when it happens. We propose an alternative view in which morality, democracy and socio-economic cooperation can be seen as separate spheres or relations which are normatively justified, motivationally demanding, but also sufficiently motivating on their own. (shrink)
This paper approaches questions of collective intentionality by drawing inspiration from theories of recognition (e.g. Honneth 1995, Ricoeur 2005, Brandom 2007). After some remarks about recognition and groups, the paper examines whether the kind of dependence on recognition that holds of individual agents is equally true of group agents. In the debates on collective intentionality it is often stressed that the identity, existence, ethos, and membership-issues of the group are up to the group to decide (e.g. Tuomela 2007). The members (...) collectively accept (recognize) status functions, goals and beliefs for the group. This paper asks whether this thesis of "forgroupness" should be re-evaluated: could the status functions, goals and beliefs be in some significant sense "for others" as well? Can the group be dependent on others’ takes? -/- . (shrink)
This paper focuses on Hegel's views on the idea of retrospective and intersubjective determination of intention. The main point is to distinguish four perspectives to human action: 1) The agent's "moral" perspective and the understanding and description under which the agent acted; from this perspective we can thematize the operative intention-in-action and distinguish "action" from "deed". 2) The agent's retrospective awareness and appropriation of the action: was what I did really justified and did it express my true goals? 3) The (...) retrospective takes of others concerning the action, from within relevant social practices and the prevailing Sittlichkeit. 4) The perspective of Reason or Idea as emerging in the world history. In this paper I use this differentiation of perspectives to discuss Hegel's views on action. I defend the primacy of the individual herself in the first aspect mentioned, in what Hegel calls the "moral" perspective. I hope to show that while the Hegelian or expressivist theme of "retrospective determination of intention" as discussed by Charles Taylor and Robert Pippin is true and important concerning retrospective awareness, retrospective appropriation and retrospective justification of action, we should not take it to imply that the intention-in-action is determined intersubjectively or retrospectively. The intention is formed by the self-determining agent herself, before or at the time of the action, just like a common sense theory of individual action assumes. Hegel's distinction in Philosophy of Right between "action" and "deed" and his views concerning the role of intended results and foreseen consequences in discussing the responsibilities of the moral agent make clear that this is also Hegel's mature view. In Phenomenology, Hegel toys with the idea of retrospective determination of intention, but does not put it forward as his own view. (shrink)
Chapters Ten and Eleven in Michael Thompson’s Life and Action discuss practices and dispositions as sources of individual actions, and as sources of the goodness of the individual actions. In the essay, I will first discuss the nature of actuality, then the distinction between acting on a first-order consideration and a second-order consideration, and the possibly related distinction between expressing a practice and merely simulating it, and then I turn to varieties of goodness.
A conflict arises from two basic insights concerning what recognition is. I call them the mutuality–insight and the adequate regard–insight. The former is the idea that recognition involves inbuilt mutuality: ego has to recognize the alter as a recognizer in order that the alter’s views may count as recognizing the ego. There always needs to be two–way recognition for even one–way recognition to take place. The adequate regard –insight in turn is that we do not merely desire to be classified (...) as recognizers, but to be treated adequately, in the light of any and all of our normatively relevant features. Both of these insights build on a third central idea, that recognition from others matters because it is relevant to one’s practical relations–to–self: say, respect from others is relevant for self–respect. But crucially for this paper, the two insights pull in different directions – they are in tension when it comes to deciding the scope of “recognition”. This paper is an attempt to negotiate the tension by comparing and assessing more and less restricted views on “recognition”. I discuss four issues on which definitions of recognition may be more or less restricted. The first question concerns the scope of possible recipients of recognition, and the second question possible recipient-dependent conceptual restrictions on whether recognition has taken place at all. On these questions I try to be true to both of the two conflicting insights. The mutuality–insight leads naturally to a strict conception of recognition (only recognizers can be recognized; recognition takes place only when two–way recognition takes place). By contrast, the adequate regard –insight leads to an unrestricted view (also other beings than recognizers can be treated adequately, and one–way adequate regard is conceptually possible). I argue that the tension between these is best negotiated by a two–part story, which will distinguish terminologically recognizing (and being recognized) from successfully giving and getting recognition. It is slightly unfortunate to have to draw such technical terminological distinctions, but drawing this distinction helps to make substantive points that upon reflection need to be made, given the mutuality–insight and adequate regard–insight. Or so I argue. The other two questions are: what sort of responses to what sort of features amount to recognition. Again, the adequate regard –insight would lead to an unrestricted normativist view: any kinds of responses that are normatively called for by any normatively relevant features may be cases of recognition. The mutuality – insight might motivate a narrower suggestion developing the idea that only other recognizers (or persons) can be recipients of recognition : only the kind of features that can only be had by other recognizers (or persons) can serve as the basis of recognition, and only the kind of responses, which are forms of taking the other as a recognizer (or a person) count as recognizing . I will argue that while such responses to such features are an important subclass of recognition, the unrestricted normativist view captures the full scope of recognition better. We should not in advance define recognition in a restricted way which rules some cases out (even though the mutuality–insight might seem to motivate some restrictions). We can fully preserve the force of the mutuality–insight with the two–part story, without restricting the scope of features and responses that amount to recognition. (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)
A satisfactory theory of “strong evaluation” should manage to do two things: first of all, make sense of the distinction between impersonal ethical issues and personal orientation. Secondly, the deontic layer of reasons and norms should be taken into account, among other things because the central indicators of strong evaluation, namely praise and blame, presuppose norms and reasons as standards of praiseworthiness and blameworthiness. These two desiderata seem to pull in different directions. The suggested analysis of the deontic layer in (...) terms of external, value-based reasons for action may make it seem even more difficult to allow for reasons of one’s own. I argue that there can be reasons of one’s own, depending on one’s orientations, commitments and the actual shape of one’s affective-conative responses. First I discuss the general reasons that decisions and commitments create, and general (stance-insensitive) reasons for making a commitment to X. These suffice as a reply to MacIntyre’s worry (9.2). Yet the picture can be developed further. Drawing on the idea of exclusionary reasons (introduced in 9.1), I discuss the general reasons for having an orientation of one’s own and the difference between an orientation to the good and a commitment to a good. The difference is the role they have as reasons for action. Commitments play a stronger role in practical reasoning because they are exclusionary reasons (9.3). Then I turn to non-uniformity and stance-sensitivity of reasons, and ask whether different people have stance-sensitive reasons to make different commitments (9.4). In the last section I analyze more closely the nature of personal resonance and the difference it may make (9.5). (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)
This paper argues that there are cases, which various guise of the good-theses concerning desires, intentions and actions would not allow. In these cases the agent acts for considerations that the agent does not regard as good reasons. The considerations render the actions intelligible but not desirable. These cases are atypical, but nonetheless show that those guise of the good-theses which do not allow them, should be revised. In typical cases the intelligibility of desires, intentions and actions co-varies with their (...) desirability: there are both unintelligible cases without suitable desirability characteristics and cases where desirability characteristics make the desire, intention and action intelligible. The claim here is that there are further more atypical and puzzling, but equally possible cases, where intelligibility and desirability come apart. The paper first introduces the Guise of the Good - debates about desires, intentions, and actions, and suggests distinguishing the category of “acting for a reason” from “acting for a consideration not taken to be a reason”. It then argues that while desirability entails intelligibility, and lack of intelligibility entails lack of desirability, these two cases leave conceptual room for a third category, which is that of intelligibility without desirability. This is so, whether we examine objective or subjective intelligibility and desirability. The claim is meant to apply mutatis mutandis to characteristics of desires, intentions and actions. The paper then provides possible cases of intelligibility without desirability, and defends the view against some objections. (shrink)
Charles Taylor has written three big books on the self-understandings of modern age andmodern individuals. -/- Hegel -/- (1975) focused on one towering figure, and held that Hegel -/- ’ -/- saspirations to overcome modern dualisms are still ours, but Hegelian philosophicalspeculation is not the way to do it. -/- Sources of the Self -/- (1989) ran the intellectual historyfrom peak to peak, stressing the continuous presence of modern tensions and cross- pressures between Enlightenment and Romanticism. -/- A Secular Age (...) -/- (2007) aims to cover the valleys as well, trying to explain how certain -/- “ -/- secular -/- ” -/- understandings have come toexistence and have managed to spread themselves from the elites into the prevailing taken-for-granted background imaginaries.Taylor begins by distinguishing three senses of secularity. The first can be called -/- “ -/- political -/- ” -/- , focusing on the separation of state and church, while the second one is -/- “ -/- sociological -/- ” -/- , focusing on the statistics of religious belief and practice. The third one can perhaps be called -/- “ -/- existential -/- ” -/- and it seems to be harder to define. It concerns what Taylor calls broad background conditions of belief and spiritual searching: something like thegeneral assumptions implicit in one -/- ’ -/- s lived experience, social and cosmic imaginary, whichmake a difference to what form (if any) one -/- ’ -/- s religious aspirations take. Taylor focuses onthis third sense and asks what has changed in that respect between 1500 when lack of belief in God was unimaginable, and 2000, when belief is one option among many. (shrink)
This essay discusses Kant and Hegel’s philosophies of action and the place of action within the general structure of their practical philosophy. We begin by briefly noting a few things that both unite and distinguish the two philosophers. In the sections that follow, we consider these and their corollaries in more detail. In so doing, we map their differences against those suggested by more standard readings that treat their accounts of action as less central to their practical philosophy. Section 2 (...) discusses some central Kantian concepts. In Section 3, we take a closer look at the distinction between internal and external action, as found in Kant’s philosophy of morality and legality. In Section 4, we turn to Hegel and his distinctions between abstract right, morality, and ethical life, as well as the location of his account of action within his overall theory of morality. We discuss the distinction between Handlung and Tat, and non-imputable consequences. The overall aims of our essay are to shed light on some puzzles in Kant and Hegel’s conceptions and to examine where their exact disputes lie without taking a stand on which philosophy is ultimately the most satisfactory. (shrink)
This chapter examines whether solidarity can be understood as a form of mutual recognition; or possibly, as a social phenomenon, which combines different forms of mutual recognition. The emphasis is on the connection between the thin principle of universal mutual respect, and the thicker relations between people, more sensitive to their particular needs and contributions, which social solidarity involves.