Saturday, December 17, 2011

William Rehg reviews "Recognition and Social Ontology"

In "Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews" (December 2011), William Rehg reviews "Recognition and Social Ontology" (Brill, 2011) edited by Heikki Ikäheimo and Arto Laitinen:

Review: "Recognition and Social Ontology"

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". 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.(....)

The second part of the book widens the scope of discussion. Three of the four chapters examine the relevance of Hegel for contemporary thought. Ludwig Siep opens with a helpful critical overview of recent attempts by Brandom, Pippin, Pinkard, Honneth, Taylor, and Ricoeur to put Hegel's conception of mutual recognition to work on contemporary concerns. Siep has doubts about this trend. The idea of recognition, he argues, lacks the resources to deal with three problems in social philosophy: distributive justice, cultural pluralism, and the relationship between humanity and nature.

See my previous post on the book here (with links to some of the essays).

William Rehg is Professor of Philosohy at Saint Louis University. He is the author of the excellent "Insight and Solidarity: A Study in the Discourse Ethics of Jürgen Habermas" (University of California Press, 1994) and co-editor (with James Bohman) of "Pluralism and the Pragmatic Turn: The Transformation of Critical Theory" (MIT Press, 2001) and "Deliberative Democracy: Essays on Politics and Reasons" (MIT Press, 1997). William Rehg is the translator of Jürgen Habermas's "Between Facts and Norms" (MIT Press, 1996).

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