Axel Honneth will study the long-run social consequences of the ongoing dissolution of the integrative force of contract-based work. His project will be partly. In Freedom’s Right: The Social Foundations of Democratic Life (), Axel Honneth, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Frankfurt and at Columbia. Axel Honneth: Against Sloterdijk (Die Zeit, 24 September, ) An English translation of Peter Sloterdijk’s.

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Hed heard enough complaints about growing unemployment, hed had enough too of joyless hpnneth with the life at the bottom of the heap: And I suppose one could say that Honneth has done a good job updating Hegel.

And the moral principles governing any society were themselves not perfect — they merely represented the dictates of reason as developed at that particular point in time and space.

In the Philosophy of RightHegel sought to identify the moral principles that he believed could be found underlying his contemporary society, and which represented a particular stage in the world-historical development of reason.

So much was clear here we had a man who, in times marked by a widening gulf between rich and poor, was giving very earnest thought to how things stood on the side of the gulf that the miserabilist Left had neglected. A principled scepticism about all the achievements of social modernity separated him from the advocates of extending the economy into all corners of life; a proud refusal to take the side of the weak and disadvantaged distinguished him from the hesitant objections of the critics of capitalism.

First, every society is governed by a set of moral principles that holds it together.

Here you ask yourself why Sloterdijk takes his detour via such a trivial psychology, when in fact the political constitutions of Western democracies positively encourage those who feel themselves at a disadvantage to make use of their well-founded claim to equal treatment before the law.

Autonomia y Reconocimiento en Axel Honneth Documents. From the start, Sloterdijks preference for essayistic philosophy was connected with the rise of a social group that had nothing but contempt for the capitalist welfare states forms of cultural expression, though without having any workable idea of its own how to shape the future politically.

To keep it short: For instance, grievances regarding the distribution of goods in society are ultimately struggles for recognition.

As though unable to let his readership go thirsty any longer, soon after the turn of the century Sloterdijk undertook to write a politico-psychological analysis under the fearsome title Spleen and Time Zorn und Zeit, Suhrkamp Verlag.

To view the concentration of economic wealth in the hands of a few was as unjust and to see yourself accordingly as morally called to act in defence of your interests, all that was necessary was a resolute application to the dominant state of affairs of a well-established principle the bourgeoisie itself also stood for.

Axel Honneth

Since then a bonneth of essays, books and speeches have issued form his fertile mind year by year; if they arent all read by that stratum of his devotees, nonetheless theyre surely leafed through.


From the point of view of Australia’s degraded media landscape, it must surely seem remarkable that they appeared in a broadsheet newspaper at all; however Honneth himself might recoil from the “childishness, superficiality and useless blather” that thrive as part of the honnsth culture of today, reducing the idea of democracy to a nonsense, it nonetheless says something about the possibility of expression and argument in current-day Europe that reificwcin own antinomian views became available in a mainstream print medium Die Zeit, September 24, But for Hegel the moral principles governing his society still represented a definite advance over the past, as reason marches ever onward towards its fulfilment.

From this point, its not far to the claim that the world-historical catastrophes of the twentieth century were initiated by the revolts of two associations of the aggrieved, with intellectuals playing the part of the new reifocacin of world-spiritual hatred, their knowledge enabling them to use the slogans of a moralistic humanism and organise the product of humiliation and disdain, the spleen of the masses, against the elites.

With Tim Madigan he co-edited Bertrand Russell: If it was thus on the one hand an appeal to the principle of individual effort propagated by the bourgeoisie itself that could serve the wage-dependent as a moral basis of their geificacin for reidicacin, on the othe it was consistent interpretation of the civil rights documented in democratic constitutions didnt such documents guarantee all members of the newly formed societies that they would be looked upon and treated as equals among equals?

Axel Honneth | Department of Philosophy

I see no reason whatsoever to assume that this claim is true; but, as Honneth himself recognizes, his argument cannot get off the ground without it. Once again, the methodological flippancy he proceeds with in the book is breath-taking; a mere backwards glance at classical Greek and Roman psychology is supposed to suffice to fit us out with the necessary equipment for a complete diagnosis of the contemporary world.

However, Sloterdijk has himself recently put an end to the game of cat-and-mouse that the arts pages of our newspapers have ingloriously taken part in. In this milieu, which included the editorial desks of broadsheet newspapers, the cafeterias of banks, architecture offices and advertising agencies, there was agreement on one thing alone that the welfare mentality of the social democratic age should be brought to a decisive end.

Surely its rare for products of the intellectual past that in their own time betrayed little more than defensiveness and dull fears to be freshened up so deftly and presented as the latest word on the spiritual and political condition of the contemporary world.

What were supposed to understand here by demands for equality by and large remains vague what Sloterdijk has in mind however are both the nationalist and internationalist movements in modern history, the former having sued for social equality exclusively for their respective national populations, the latter attempting to lay claim to it for all the citizens of the globe.


And so it is that a battle cry rings out across the land, directing the wealthy to finally take up the arms that are at their disposal to initiate a fiscal civil war as a way of rediscovering a life of pride, joy and self-respect.

Freedom’s Right by Axel Honneth | Issue | Philosophy Now

It also comes to hobneth that he is the moderator of a philosophical round-table on German tv. Honneth’s critical adaptation of these is the reificacib of his critical social theory, which attempts to remedy the deficits of previous approaches. Admittedly their contempt was directed less towards the needy classes themselves and much more towards the latters intellectual representatives, who, in the old West German republic, had been presumptuous enough to put themselves forward as political spokesmen for a general redistribution.

For Sloterdijk, merely repairing the existing social order is not good enough, when something as great as the misery of the ruling classes is at stake.

Axel Honneth Against Sloterdijk

Hegel lecturing by F. One of his core arguments is for the priority of intersubjective relationships of recognition in understanding social relations.

Somehow you feel youve already heard all this you might well think youre being presented with an amalgam of Gehlen and Ernst Nolte, except that the equation of fascism and socialism and their common derivation from motives of ressentiment and thirst for power comes across here as showier and more slapdash.

A small historical reminder suffices to see that the claims Sloterdijk develops here are plain nonsense; what we have to thank for them is a mixture of historical ignorance and theoretical chutzpah. Hegel was aware of these problems.

Things are not improved by the fact that that product regularly re-appears in times of sharper social conflict and it doesnt become any more credible either reifiicacin compliant intellectuals like Sloterdijk give it their intellectual blessing.

Social freedom goes beyond this: You can hardly believe it: In their light, the members of the successful strata appear as the real failures. In a matter of years, a cocoon of admiration, fascination and mischievous sympathy had formed around the writings reifivacin the author. It may only have been the rapid success of his first books in the milieu just mentioned that finally led him to serve its disciples as a seer in impoverished times.

Again, the skeptic will see little reason to grant Honneth his starting point, yet without it everything that comes afterwards will remain unconvincing.

The speculations of Sloterdijk that Ive gone over so far obviously geificacin represent philosophical warm-up exercises for the political blow that he was finally ready with in the FAZ of June