Axel Honneth
Axel Honneth

Axel Honneth

Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Institute for Social Research
Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe University Frankfurt/Main

Reification: A Recognition-Theoretical View

Lecture I: The Priority of Recognition over Cognition
Monday, March 14, 2005
4:10 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., Toll Room, Alumni House
With commentary by Raymond Geuss

Lecture II: Reification as Loss of Recognitional Attitudes
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
4:10 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., Toll Room, Alumni House
With commentary by Judith Butler and Jonathan Lear

Seminar and Discussion with commentators
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
4:10 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., Toll Room, Alumni House
With commentary by Raymond Geuss, Judith Butler,
and Jonathan Lear

The lectures and the seminar are free and open to the public.

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About Axel Honneth

Axel Honneth is an internationally renowned social theorist who has creatively continued the legacy of the Frankfurt School’s Critical Theory. Under his direction, the Frankfurt Institute of Social Research has reclaimed its earlier mission of combining radical social and political analysis with rigorous philosophical inquiry. Drawing on the work of Habermas in particular and combining it with insights from recent French thought, he has explored the themes of recognition and power with special insight.

A prolific writer, Honneth has published numerous critical essays and books on social theory and its history, including “The Struggle for Recognition: The Moral Grammar of Social Conflicts” (1996), and “The Critique of Power: Reflective Stages in a Critical Social Theory” (1993). Honneth’s more recent publications include “Suffering from Indeterminacy: A Reactualization of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right” (2000), “Recognition or Redistribution? Changing Perspectives on the Moral Order of Society,” with Nancy Fraser (2003), and “Anxiety and Politics” (2003). Honneth has been a member of several research institutes, including the Danish National Research Foundation’s Center for Subjectivity Research at the University of Copenhagen since 2002, and the Institute for Cultural Sciences at the University of Bern in Lucerne, Switzerland since mid-2004. He has lectured at universities around the world, including McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and Kyoto University in Kyoto, Japan.

Born in 1949 in Essen, Germany, Honneth received his M.A. in philosophy from the Universities at Bonn and Bochum in 1974 and his Ph.D. in philosophy from Freie Universität, Berlin in 1982. From October 1989 to July 1990, he was a fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg, Berlin. Honneth has been Professor of Philosophy at the Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe University of Frankfurt/Main since 1996, and Director of its Institute for Social Research since 2001. In May 2004, Honneth received the F. Palacky Honorary Medal for Merit in Social Sciences, presented by the Academy Council of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic Awards.

About the Commentators

Judith Butler

Maxine Elliot Professor of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature
University of California, Berkeley

Judith Butler is internationally recognized for her work on cultural theories of gender, criticisms of identity politics, and new visions of radical democracy. Her research addresses a range of fields including psychoanalysis, social theory, feminist studies, and philosophy and literature.

Butler is the author of many works on European philosophy as well as feminist and queer theory. Her publications include Antigone’s Claim: Kinship Between Life and Death (2000); Excitable Speech (1997); The Psychic Life of Power: Theories of Subjection (1997); and Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (1990). Her most recent works, Precarious Life: The Power of Mourning and Violence and Undoing Gender, both appeared in 2004, a year that also saw the publication of The Judith Butler Reader, edited by Butler and Sara Salih.

In 1984, Butler received her Ph.D. in philosophy at Yale University, having earned her MA (1982) and B.A. (1978) at Yale as well. She studied Philosophy at Heidelberg University as a Fulbright Scholar. Subsequently, she taught at Wesleyan University and Johns Hopkins University before joining the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley, in 1993, where she is currently Maxine Elliot Professor in the Departments of Rhetoric, Comparative Literature, and Gender and Women’s Studies.

Raymond Geuss 

Reader in Philosophy, Faculty of Philosophy
University of Cambridge

A distinguished political philosopher, Raymond Geuss has contributed widely to current research into the paradigms and aims of the social sciences. Geuss is critically lauded for uncovering and addressing fundamental assumptions and confusions in contemporary political philosophy.

Geuss has authored and edited numerous works on political philosophy and critical theory, including The Idea of a Critical Theory: Habermas and the Frankfurt School (1981); Morality, Culture, and History: Essays on German Philosophy (1999); History and Illusion in Politics (2001); Public Goods, Private Goods (2001); Glück und Politik: Potsdamer Vorlesungen (2004); and Outside Ethics (forthcoming in 2005).

Raymond Geuss received his BA (1966) and Ph.D. (1971) from Columbia University. He taught in Heidelberg, at Columbia University, the University of Chicago, and Princeton University before joining the Faculty of Philosophy at Cambridge in 1993. He is a series editor of Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought and a former editor of Cambridge University’s Modern European Philosophy Series.

Jonathan Lear

John U. Nef Distinguished Service Professor of Social Thought
University of Chicago 

Jonathan Lear is a celebrated scholar of psychoanalytic theory and the history of philosophy. Much of his research and teaching probes the intersection of ancient and modern philosophy with psychoanalytic explorations of the mind.

Lear has written prolifically on philosophy and psychoanalysis, and several of his works have garnered the Gradiva Award, bestowed by the National Association for Psychoanalysis to the best psychoanalytic book of the year. His publications include Aristotle and Logical Theory (1980); Aristotle: The Desire to Understand (1988); Love and its Place in Nature: A Philosophical Interpretation of Freudian Psychoanalysis (1990); Open Minded: Working Out the Logic of the Soul (1998); Happiness, Death, and the Remainder of Life (2001); and Therapeutic Action: An Earnest Plea for Irony (2003). Lear’s book Freud will appear in spring 2005 as the latest title in the Routledge Philosophers Series.

Jonathan Lear received psychoanalytic training in addition to his education and research in philosophy and social thought. He earned bachelor degrees from both Yale University (1970) and University of Cambridge (1973). Lear received his MA from Cambridge in 1976 and his Ph.D. from Rockefeller University in 1978. After teaching at both Yale and Cambridge, Lear joined the Department of Philosophy at the University of Chicago (1996), where he is the John U. Nef Distinguished Service Professor of Social Thought.