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Misdevelopments, pathologies, and normative revolutions: Normative reconstruction as method of critical theory

Schaub, J (2015) 'Misdevelopments, pathologies, and normative revolutions: Normative reconstruction as method of critical theory.' Critical Horizons, 16 (2). 107 - 130. ISSN 1440-9917

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Abstract

© 2015 Critical Horizons Pty Ltd. In this article I argue that the method of normative reconstruction underlying Freedom's Right undermines Critical Theory's aspiration to be a force that is unreservedly critical and progressive. I start out by giving a brief account of the four premises of the method of normative reconstruction and unpack their implications for how Honneth conceptualizes social pathologies and misdevelopments, specifically that these notions are no longer linked to radical critique and normative revolution. In the second part, I demonstrate that abandoning forms of radical critique and normative revolution is internally linked to adopting this method, before arguing that Freedom's Right contains no resources to account for why abandoning them does not amount to a deficiency. In the final part, I point out two problematic implications of turning away from radical critique and normative revolution for the very project Honneth pursues in Freedom's Right. I show that Honneth's own view about the limited scope of application of the method of normative reconstruction and his account of the dangers associated with social misdevelopments give us (additional) reasons to consider this method to be incomplete. Finally, I contend that the explanatory power of Freedom's Right is dubious because methodological premises that form part of normative reconstruction lead Honneth to ignore relevant alternative explanations of processes of deviation and disassociation from norms of social freedom, which he characterizes as social misdevelopments.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Philosophy and Art History, School of
Depositing User: Joerg Schaub
Date Deposited: 05 May 2015 08:54
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2017 17:37
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/13663

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