a critique of Axel Honneth's theory of reification
In his Reification. A New Look at an Old Idea (2008), Axel Honneth attempts to positively draw on Lukács's theory of reification and to reinterpret it in the frame of the theory of recognition he has been developing since the beginning of the 1990s. As the content of the book is very rich, in this chapter I confine myself to dealing with two main questions: firstly, whether Honneth's interpretation of Lukács is plausible and, secondly, to what extend Lukács's critical theory can be helpful in pointing out the limits of Honneth's theory of reification itself. In order to answer the first question, I examine Honneth's critique of what he calls Lukács's "official version" of the theory of reification, which he connects with the idealist philosophy of identity. Then I turn to Honneth's interpretation of the "unofficial version" of Lukács's concept of reification which he reconstructs in recognition-theoretical terms as the "forgetfulness of recognition." Finally, I proceed to answer the above question by deploying Lukács's theory to summarize some of the dispersed critiques of Honneth's theory of reification that have been formulated in the relevant bibliography. From a Lukácsian point of view Honneth's anthropological conceptualization of reification itself appears as reified.
Kavoulakos, K. (2019)., Reifying reification: a critique of Axel Honneth's theory of reification, in V. Schmitz (ed.), Axel Honneth and the critical theory of recognition, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 41-68.
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