Axel Honneth is widely regarded as one of the most important contemporary critical theorists. His oeuvre, which spans more than four decades of writing—from his early engagement with critique in the Frankfurt School tradition to his theory of recognition and the latest discussions of freedom in modern ethical life and the question of socialism—has been enormously influential in the shaping of current critical theory and beyond. Bringing together leading scholars in contemporary social and political philosophy, this authoritative book takes the central themes of Honneth’s work as a starting point for debating the present and future of critical theory as a form of socially grounded philosophy that is geared toward analyzing and critiquing society.
Honneth’s writings revolve around five key themes: critique, recognition, freedom, progress, and socialism. His arguments engaging with each of these themes have substantially advanced current debates in critical theory and social and political philosophy more generally. The contributing authors take on these five themes and use them as a springboard to structure their discussion of the future of critical theory in our contemporary moment.
Julia Christ is a permanent researcher in philosophy at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, France.
Kristina Lepold is assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy at Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany.
Daniel Loick is associate professor of political and social philosophy at the University of Amsterdam.
Titus Stahl is assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands.
If Critical Theory and the so-called Frankfurt School should not be understood as a school with a headmaster, but rather as a cooperative project and a context of discussion, this volume is an impressive proof of both: the cooperative character of the enterprise as well as the immense philosophical inspiration emanating from Axel Honneth’s work. It is the open-mindedness of his philosophical attitude that results in the most productive encounter and ensures that the theoretical enterprise aimed at conceptualizing and criticizing the societies we live in will continue on in so many voices.