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Reflective Critical Theory: A Systematic Reconstruction Of Axel Honneth’s Social Philosophy

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Chapter Summary

This chapter emphasises the reflective and systematic dimensions in Axel Honneth's social philosophy. In the first part, the chapter defines three fundamental assumptions underpinning Honneth's model as it has been developed in his first publications until the book co-written with Nancy Fraser. The three basic theoretical decisions that build the argumentative core of Honneth's model are: an historical-conceptual thesis about modernity, a two-fold social-ontological thesis about subject constitution and social reproduction, and finally a political axiom impacting on the form and content of the first two axioms. In the second part, the chapter shows how the systematicity of Honneth's model does not run into logical circularity thanks to its specific reflective nature. In the third part, the chapter focuses on the latest writings to show how the two shifts that the first model has undergone do not put in question the long-term coherence of Honneth's social philosophy.

Keywords: Axel Honneth; critical theory of society; historical-conceptual thesis about modernity; political axiom; social philosophy; social-ontological thesis



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