Pathologies of Recognition

Abstract : The article argues that recognition is not only the answer to social pathologies caused by disrespect, but also an ambivalent relationship that generates its own pathologies. It distinguishes between two dimensions of recognition: the inter-individual dimension of inter-subjective recognition and the institutional dimension of recognition between the individual and the state. Relying on a joint reading of Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit and Philosophy of Right, the article develops a critical and normative investigation. It draws the norms of recognition in its two dimensions, inter-individual and institutional. It shows how the Phenomenology of Spirit develops a critical analysis of inter-subjective recognition, which in Hegel's view is always contaminated by power relations. Such contamination of recognition by power appears in all inter-individual forms of recognition. It is not specific to the 'master/servant' dialectic. In contrast with Axel Honneth's reading of the Philosophy of Right, the 'vertical' dimension of recognition between the individual and the state is rehabilitated. Based on a close reading of Hegel's text, the article determines the conditions under which citizens may recognize the state as their own and consider themselves as being recognized in and by the state. These conditions concern domestic as well as international policies. Finally, the article analyses the link between Hegel's concept of recognition and his theory of action. In this view, the highest form of recognition has more to do with reconciliation - reconciliation between human beings, reconciliation with the 'finitude of action' - than with the problematic of individual and collective identity. The analysis includes a discussion of recent interpretations of Hegel's philosophy, especially in Germany (J. Habermas, A. Honneth, L. Siep) and in the U.S. (F. Jameson, F. Neuhouser, T. Pinkard, R. Pippin, T. Rockmore), with particular attention to the question of argumentation.
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Patrice Canivez. Pathologies of Recognition. Philosophy and Social Criticism, SAGE Publications, 2011, 37 (8), pp.851-887. ⟨halshs-00936394⟩

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