Mookherjee, M (2020) On Axel Honneth's Cosmopolitanism: The 'Forgetting' of Global Poverty as a Form of Reification. Social Theory and Practice. ISSN 2154-123X

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Amid now extensive debates about cosmopolitanism in political theory, this article explores the implications of Axel Honneth’s recognition theory for issues in international justice, not least the dire situation of poverty in the world. In contrast with a purely resource-distributive approach, the essay turns particularly to Honneth’s recent revival of the Lukácsian concept of reification as a process of self-distancing from the elementary humanity of others. Specifically, Honneth re-formulates reification as a failure of an elementary or ‘antecedent’ form of recognition. From the perspective of his theory, reification connotes the forgetfulness of others’ fundamental humanity. While Honneth takes such forgetfulness to become most readily apparent in dramatic violations such as the Holocaust, the article interprets his theory to explain, and eventually to challenge, the passive acceptance by many of dire material injustices. The paper develops the implications of this challenge by interpreting from Honneth’s framework a duty to question international policies which tend to reify and objectify the least well off in the world, whilst remaining cognizant of the limits of de-reification to the more extensive, meaningful alleviation of poverty globally.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the accepted author manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) was first published online via Philosophy Documentation Centre at - please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.
Uncontrolled Keywords: antecedent recognition, cosmopolitanism, global poverty, reification, Lukács, Honneth, material redistribution
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Politics, Philosophy, International Relations and Environment
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2019 10:21
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2020 10:30

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