Università di Roma Sapienza
Abstract: This article focuses on Axel Honneth’s latest book, Recognition: A European History of Ideas. I summarize Honneth’s reconstruction of the three models of recognition that he associates respectively with the French, the British and the German theoretical tradition, and his attempt at integrating the German model with the other two. In retracing Honneth’s itinerary through the development of the idea of recognition, I also present some objections: these concern Honneth’s neglect, in Recognition, of the philosophy of the first French and British socialists, as well as the fact that the one expounded in Recognition is only a philosophical, intellectual history of this idea, and not also, as in my opinion would have been advisable, a social history of recognition (with reference to authors such as E.P. Thompson, Barrington Moore, George Rudé). These omissions are even more paradoxical considering that Honneth’s previous book, The Idea of Socialism, extensively focused on the ideas of the first French socialists, while his reflections on recognition dating from the ’80 and the ’90 owe much to social history.
Keywords: Recognition; Rousseau; Smith; Hegel; Social History; Socialism.