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Social Pathologies As Second-Order Disorders

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Chapter Summary

It should be clear that the social pathologies of reification represent second-order disorders: first-order objectivating cognitions and interactions (whether of and with other persons, one's own feelings and dispositions, or the objective world) are disconnected from a second-order grasp of them as temporally and conceptually dependent on a prior act of recognition, yielding reifying cognitions and interactions properly speaking. Many of the different social pathologies that Axel Honneth has analysed can be productively understood as exhibiting the conceptual structure of second-order disorders. This chapter is a call for more attention to the explanatory tasks of social theory to complement the theory of recognition's ontogenetic and normative strengths, and render the provocative diagnoses of social pathologies useful for a reinvigorated critical social theory.

Keywords: Axel Honneth; second-order disorders; social pathologies; Theory of Recognition



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