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Civitas - Revista de Ciências Sociais

versão impressa ISSN 1519-6089versão On-line ISSN 1984-7289


HONNETH, Axel. Abysses of recognition: The sociophilosophical legacy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Civitas, Rev. Ciênc. Soc. [online]. 2013, vol.13, n.3, pp.563-585.  Epub 03-Jul-2020. ISSN 1984-7289.

The text deals with the question of the interpretation of the work of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, in particular with his references to the constitutive dependence on others. Viewed negatively in the critique of culture, but positively in outlines of a social contract, the place of this constitutive dependence of confirmation and esteem from others is linked to the meaning given to “self-love” in different texts, but it opens the possibility of interpreting Rousseau as a theorist of recognition. The author follows Rousseau in his theoretical development to the point where he became aware of the requirements of an egalitarian social and contractual form of mutual recognition, and then expose the enormous influence that bipolar Rousseau’s idea about the social recognition exerted on the modern social theory: in its negative variant, the basic need of human beings to overcome their fellow citizens in the degree of social esteem, reinterpreted by Kant as being the driving force of social and cultural progress, and in its positive variant, the mutual respect between equals, developed by Fichte and Hegel toward a theory of recognition related to law and morality. In the last part of the text, Honneth discusses the skepticism with which Rousseau ever has seen the dependence on others contained in the “self esteem”, leaving without a definitive solution to the tension between the Stoic idea of a personal independence of all evaluation by others and the idea of a profound dependence on others. (Editor’s abstract).

Palavras-chave : Rousseau; Recognition; Self-love; Intersubjectivity; Philosophical interpretation.

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