Axel Honneth’s Dialogue on Hegel’s Philosophy of Law

Revista de Humanidades de Valparaíso 18:45-64 (2021)
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Abstract

This article has two purposes. First, it aims to present a detailed analysis of the argument of “recognition” or even of the “fight for recognition”, which Hegel uses in his fragments from Jena treating of the system of philosophy, especially of the philosophy of spirit. It will be necessary to determine precedently by means of an exact interpretation the content of that expressions, in order to criticize and to compare, his original significance in Hegel with the theoretical application made by Honneth. The special aim hereby is to correct and to explain the function of the “fight for recognition”, even in its sharpening significance as a “fight for life and death”, with relation to the genesis of the state of right. Second, the figure of “recognition” is related to Hegel’s Philosophy of right in the version of 1820. In this work, recognition participates in the theory of “institutions” which is analyzed by Honneth as well. Apart from the merits gained through the endeavour to introduce a classic philosophical theory into a conception of justice in society, we feel obliged to state an error in Honneth‘s interpretation in so far as he understands an institution as a simple social community of communication. For that reason, a conclusion based on a critical commentary can only include a negative recommendation, that means, not to follow those traces of interpretation but rather to defend and to consult the texts originally composed by Hegel.

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