Monday, April 09, 2012

Two new papers on Axel Honneth

Two papers from the symposium on "Towards a New Ethical Imagination: Political and social values in a cosmopolitan world society", Turku, Finland, February 2012:

* Arto Laitinen -
Social bases of self-esteem: Rawls, Honneth and beyond

This paper discusses Rawls’s thesis that the social basis of self-respect is one of the primary social goods. While the central element of the social basis consists in the attitudes of others (e.g. respect or esteem) the social basis may include also possession of various goods. Further, one may distinguish, following Honneth, universalistic basic respect from differential esteem and from loving care. This paper focuses on esteem, and further distinguishes three important varieties thereof (anti-stigmatization; contributions to societal goods, projects of self-realization), which all differ from recognition of cultural identity. The normative implications will differ in these different contexts.

* Jacob Dahl Rendtorff -
Axel Honneth: The law of freedom – Institutionalization of freedom in modern societies - A reconstruction and some remarks

This paper reconstructs the argument of Axel Honneth's recent book Das Recht der Freiheit as a theory of the institutionalization of freedom in modern society. In particular, it looks at Honneth's argument for the realization of freedom in law and morality that is proposed as a contemporary re-interpretation of Hegel's Philosophy of Right. Then I discuss Honneth's argument for the reality of freedom in the ethical spheres of civil society, in particular in the family, the market and in democracy. Finally, the paper proposes some critical remarks to Honneth's theory.

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