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Social Philosophy As Social Theory

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Chapter Summary

The beginning of The Struggle for Recognition seemed to set out as one of its central tasks to develop "a new concept of the social". This chapter outlines Honneth's intervention in this field, which is inspired and nourished by classical and contemporary writings in social theory. Contemporary research in sociology and social theory plays a decisive role in Honneth's writings throughout his career. One way of distinguishing between social theory and social philosophy is in reference to historical trends. The chapter attempts to bring together the main premises in Honneth's theoretical approach to the social. It also characterizes Honneth's specific proposal in social theory. Social theory cannot avoid being normativist. Three early critical discussions in particular have played a decisive role in Honneth's development: the critique of Althusser; the critique of Foucault; and the critique of Lévi-Strauss.

Keywords: Foucault; Honneth; Lévi-Strauss; social philosophy; social theory; The Struggle for Recognition



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