Axel Honneth and the Struggle for Recognition in the Sphere of Family: Challenges and Limitations

Document Type : Scientific extension

Authors

1 PhD Student of Philosophy, University of Tehran

2 Assistant Professor of Philosophy, University of Tehran

Abstract

The ethical and political thinking of Axel Honneth—German philosopher and leading scholar in the third generation of Frankfurt School Critical Theorists—is considered an inclusive theory that accepts the other. Honneth attempts to present a theory that is neither too abstract so that no conception of "good life" can endure, nor is too thick and substantive, and thus exclusionary. He attempts to demonstrate a theory in the middle.  However, his theory has also been subject to the criticism that it rests on an ideological and exclusionary basis. Nevertheless, most such criticisms have their root in the entanglement of the second and third spheres of recognition and thus accept Honneth’s distinction between private and public life, according to which the former contains an immanent and pre-political logic. As a result, except for a few feminist philosophers, criticisms of ideological recognition are confined to the second and third spheres, respectively the realm of human rights and societal solidarity. By contrast, this article explores the ideological predicaments of the first sphere of recognition—familial love—by rejecting the private-public distinction and advocating for broader love-based recognition. Eliminating this distinction will help Honneth's account of the first sphere of recognition to consider the asymmetrical power plays and ideological predicaments between family members.

Keywords


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