Recognition and Socialism

July 18, 2014
Department of Philosophy, Goethe University of Frankfurt

Room IG 1.811, Casino Building
Grüneburgplatz 1

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  • Institute for Social Research, Frankfurt, Germany


Julia Christ
Frankfurt University
Daniel Loick
Frankfurt University
University of Groningen

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It is one of the central claims of Hegel's social philosophy that modern civil societies –especially as far as markets of goods and labor play a central role within them – are not only spheres of self-interested, strategic action, but also of intersubjective recognition. Hegel assumes that, through their participation in the market, individuals can experience that their achievements are socially valued. However it is unclear whether this is meant by Hegelas a description of actually existing societies or whether it makes explicit a normative demand that they do not yet fulfill. Furthermore, an entire tradition of social critique has rejected Hegel's claim of the compatibility of market societies and recognition by pointing out that the modern, capitalist mode of production systematically produces forms of injustice and exploitation that not only undermine the formal equality of citizens, but also generate social pathologies like alienation and reification which impede their full participation in social practices of recognition. For this reason, it was denied, by Marx in particular, that there can be self- and other-relations that contribute to human flourishing while there is capitalism. From the point of view of this tradition, the question therefore arises whethera theory of recognition supports an ideal of a socialist form of society and how this society must be conceived of, if, on the one hand, it is to avoid the injustices and ethical deficits which systematically undermine the promise of equal recognition in capitalist civil societies, and if, on the other hand, it must not fall back behind the gains in mutual recognition and practical coordination that have been historically achieved by the capitalist market order. This concerns foremost the question of socialist production (labor conditions), circulation (conditions of exchange and markets) and consumption (development and satisfaction of needs). But beyond these immediate questions, the issue of whether there could be a socialist ethical order (“Sittlichkeit”) needs to be discussed. This workshop is to explore the relation between socialism and recognition both in a historical as well as in a systematical perspective.

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July 11, 2014, 5:00am CET

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