The I in We

The I in We : Studies in the Theory of Recognition

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In this volume Axel Honneth deepens and develops his highly influential theory of recognition, showing how it enables us both to rethink the concept of justice and to offer a compelling account of the relationship between social reproduction and individual identity formation. Drawing on his reassessment of Hegel s practical philosophy, Honneth argues that our conception of social justice should be redirected from a preoccupation with the principles of distributing goods to a focus on the measures for creating symmetrical relations of recognition. This theoretical reorientation has far-reaching implications for the theory of justice, as it obliges this theory to engage directly with problems concerning the organization of work and with the ideologies that stabilize relations of domination. In the final part of this volume Honneth shows how the theory of recognition provides a fruitful and illuminating way of exploring the relation between social reproduction and identity formation.
Rather than seeing groups as regressive social forms that threaten the autonomy of the individual, Honneth argues that the I is dependent on forms of social recognition embodied in groups, since neither self-respect nor self-esteem can be maintained without the supportive experience of practising shared values in the group. This important new book by one of the leading social philosophers of our time will be of great interest to students and scholars in philosophy, sociology, politics and the humanities and social sciences generally.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 240 pages
  • 151 x 230 x 15mm | 388g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New
  • 0745652336
  • 9780745652337
  • 313,999

Table of contents

Preface I. Hegelian Roots From Desire to Recognition: Hegel's Grounding of Self-Consciousness The Realm of Actualized Freedom: Hegel's Notion of a "Philosophy of Right" II. Systematic Consequences The Fabric of Justice: On the Limits of Contemporary Proceduralism Labour and Recognition: A Redefinition Recognition as Ideology: The Connection between Morality and Power Dissolutions of the Social: The Social Theory of Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thevenot Philosophy as Social Research: David Miller's Theory of Justice III. Social and Theoretical Applications Recognition between States: On the Moral Substrate of International Relations Organized Self-Realisation: Paradoxes of Individualisation Paradoxes of Capitalist Modernisation: A Research Programme (with Martin Hartmann) IV. Psychoanalytical Ramifications The Work of Negativity: A Recognition-Theoretical Revision of Psychoanalysis The I in the We: Recognition as a Driving Force of Group Formation Facets of the Presocial Self: A Rejoinder to Joel Whitebook Disempowering Reality: Secular Forms of Consolation
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Review quote

'Axel Honneth's new book, The I in We, is both original and important. He continues here the critical theory project of exploring the relationship between sociological explanation and normative assessment, and he argues forcefully for the expansion of the notion of such explanation to include an account of the psychological conditions for relations of recognition and thereby social justice. This book is a major achievement, especially in Honneth's vigorous defense of his position against his critics.'
Robert Pippin, University of Chicago

'This collection of unusually rich essays both fills in crucial details of Axel Honneth's theory of recognition and illuminates its historical roots in Hegel's 'The Phenomenology of Spirit' and 'Philosophy of Right'. Honneth is at his finest here, appropriating insights of past philosophers in ways that demonstrate their contemporary relevance for disciplines as diverse as social theory, political philosophy, and psychoanalysis.'
Frederick Neuhouser, Barnard College, Columbia University
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About Axel Honneth

Axel Honneth is Professor of Philosophy at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt.
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