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Axel Honneth

Reification - A Study in Recognition Theory

(German title: Verdinglichung)
ca. 100 pages
Paperback
2005
Axel Honneth
Foto: Axel Honneth
© Jürgen Bauer

Axel Honneth, born 1949, is Professor of Philosophy at the Goethe University in Frankfurt/Main and Managing Director of Frankfurt’s renowned Institute of Social Research.

Prizes and Awards (selection):

Bruno-Kreisky-Preis 2015

Ernst-Bloch-Preis 2015

»Axel Honneth has found wide reverberation with his socio-philosophical work. (...) In the perception of the profession Honneth stands next to such philosophers as Martha Nussbaum, Robert Pippin, Avishai Margalit, Judith Butler. That his books find such considerable resonance betrays as much about the substance of theory as about the authorial talent of the writer.« Jürgen Habermas, Die Zeit

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English world rights (Tanner Foundation), Spanish world rights (Katz), Chinese simplex rights (East China Normal UP / Vi Horae), Brazilian Portuguese rights (UNESP), Italy (Mimesis/Meltemi), Korea (Nanam), Japan (Hosei UP), Hungary (Veszprémi UP), Macedonia (Az-Buki)

About

In Spring 2005, Axel Honneth, the most important representative of the young generation of the Frankfurt School, held the renowned Tanner Lectures at the University of Berkeley.

The subject he chose was a key concept in 19th and 20th century philosophy, one without which the entire tradition of social critique and contemporary political philosophy would be quite inconceivable, namely reification. Axel Honneth undertook to update the concept, the primary understanding of which dates back to the thought of Georg Lukács.

Although we intuitively believe that we know what this concept means in everyday life, on closer inspection its substantive meaning seems blurred. In the context of the debate on pornography, for example, that is talk of the reification or objectification of women, while in quite different contexts the talk is of the reification of nature, whereby the normative point of reference is far from clear. Axel Honneth redefines the concept of reification as a concept for critical philosophy. His central hypothesis is that we should always speak of reification if in our relationship to the world those components of prior recognition get lost that form the basis of our cognition and also our entire social life.
By means of such a concept of reification reformulated in light of recognition theory and backed up by developmental psychology, the term can then be brought to bear in relation to questions of social theory. Honneth has authored a short book that has the feel of a political and philosophical treatise, and yet repositions philosophy as social critique.

Other publications

Die Armut unserer Freiheit/The Poverty of Our Freedom (2020)

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Chinese simplex rights (Shanghai People’s Publishing House)

Anerkennung/Recognition (2018)

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English world rights (Cambridge UP), Spanish world rights (Akal), Chinese simplex rights (Shanghai People's Publishing House), France (Gallimard), Italy (Feltrinelli), Korea (Nanam), Japan (Hosei UP), Croatia (Mizantrop)

Die Idee des Sozialismus/The Idea of Socialism (2015)

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English world rights (Polity), Spanish world rights (Katz), Catalan world rights (Diputacío de València), Chinese simplex rights (East China Normal UP / Vi Horae), Brazil (Martins Fontes), Portugal (Edicoes 70), Arabic world rights (Librairie Orientale), France (Gallimard), Italy (Feltrinelli), Denmark (Reitzels), Finland (Gaudeamus), Japan (Hosei UP), Slovakia (Veda), Serbia (Akademska Knjiga), Slovenia (Krtina), Turkey (Iletisim), Greece (Polis), Iran (Qoqnoos)

Vivisektionen eines Zeitalters/Vivisections of an Age (2014)

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Das Recht der Freiheit/Freedom`s Right (2011)

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Das Ich im Wir/The I in We (2010)

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Pathologien der Vernunft/Pathology of Reason (2007)

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Unsichtbarkeit/Invisibility (2003)

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Japan (Hosei UP)

Umverteilung oder Anerkennung?/Redistribution or Recognition (2003)

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Spainish world rights (Morata), Italy (Meltemi), Korea (April Books), Japan (Hosei UP), Poland (DSWE), Czech Republic (Filosofia), Romania (Tact); previously published in the respective language / territory; rights available again: Chinese simplex rights (Shanghai People's Publishing House)

Das Andere der Gerechtigkeit/Disrespect (2000)

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Kampf um Anerkennung/The Struggle for Recognition (1992)

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Die zerrissene Welt des Sozialen/The Fragmented World of the Social (1990)

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English world rights (SUNY Press), Japan (Miraisha); previously published in the respective language / territory; rights available again: Chinese simplex rights (Social Science Academic Press)

Kritik der Macht/Critique of Power (1988)

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USA (MIT), Spanish world rights (Antonio Machado), Chinese simplex rights (Shanghai People’s Publishing House), Italy (Dedalo), Japan (Hosei UP), Ukraine (Ahill), Iran (Nashr e Now)