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Decentred autonomy and authenticity in Honneth

Wilhelm, Dagmar



Axel Honneth proposes a recognition theoretical approach to justice, where justice is a matter of the recognition of individuals in the three spheres of ethical life he identifies. The value of recognition is based on the value of “self-realization”. Given the intimate relation between self-realization on the hand and autonomy and authenticity on the other, autonomy and authenticity also play an important normative role in Honneth’s recognition theoretical approach to justice. In this paper I will examine Honneth’s conceptions of autonomy and authenticity. I will argue that these conceptions manage to meet some of the descriptive challenges faced by recognition theories, but fail to provide recognition with the required normative underpinnings. In order to gain or retain normative force, Honneth needs to provide an account of “true self” or objective human well - being, which in turn would fail to meet the descriptive challenge and move dangerously close to traditional theory.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Oct 1, 2014
Journal Hegel Bulletin
Print ISSN 2051-5367
Publisher Cambridge University Press (CUP)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 35
Issue 2
Pages 292-312
Keywords Honneth, decentred autonomy, authenticity, normativity, recognition
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