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  • Author(s) Axel Honneth
  • SubtitleThe Social Foundations of Democratic Life
  • Edition1
  • Published28th February 2014
  • PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons (UK)
  • ISBN9780745669434

The Social Foundations of Democratic Life

The theory of justice is one of the most intensely debated areas of
contemporary philosophy. Most theories of justice, however, have
only attained their high level of justification at great cost. By
focusing on purely normative, abstract principles, they become
detached from the sphere that constitutes their ?field of
application? - namely, social reality.



Axel Honneth proposes a different approach. He seeks to derive the
currently definitive criteria of social justice directly from the
normative claims that have developed within Western liberal
democratic societies. These criteria and these claims together make
up what he terms ?democratic ethical life?: a system of
morally legitimate norms that are not only legally anchored, but
also institutionally established.



Honneth justifies this far-reaching endeavour by demonstrating that
all essential spheres of action in Western societies share a single
feature, as they all claim to realize a specific aspect of
individual freedom. In the spirit of Hegel?s Philosophy of
Right
and guided by the theory of recognition, Honneth shows
how principles of individual freedom are generated which constitute
the standard of justice in various concrete social spheres:
personal relationships, economic activity in the market, and the
political public sphere. Honneth seeks thereby to realize a very
ambitious aim: to renew the theory of justice as an analysis of
society.

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  • Author(s) Axel Honneth
  • SubtitleThe Social Foundations of Democratic Life
  • Edition1
  • Published28th February 2014
  • PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons (UK)
  • ISBN9780745669434

The Social Foundations of Democratic Life

The theory of justice is one of the most intensely debated areas of
contemporary philosophy. Most theories of justice, however, have
only attained their high level of justification at great cost. By
focusing on purely normative, abstract principles, they become
detached from the sphere that constitutes their ?field of
application? - namely, social reality.



Axel Honneth proposes a different approach. He seeks to derive the
currently definitive criteria of social justice directly from the
normative claims that have developed within Western liberal
democratic societies. These criteria and these claims together make
up what he terms ?democratic ethical life?: a system of
morally legitimate norms that are not only legally anchored, but
also institutionally established.



Honneth justifies this far-reaching endeavour by demonstrating that
all essential spheres of action in Western societies share a single
feature, as they all claim to realize a specific aspect of
individual freedom. In the spirit of Hegel?s Philosophy of
Right
and guided by the theory of recognition, Honneth shows
how principles of individual freedom are generated which constitute
the standard of justice in various concrete social spheres:
personal relationships, economic activity in the market, and the
political public sphere. Honneth seeks thereby to realize a very
ambitious aim: to renew the theory of justice as an analysis of
society.
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