, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 39-51

From Psychologism to Personhood: Honneth, Recognition, and the Making of Persons

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Abstract

The paper explores the philosophical anthropology and the moral grammar of recognition. It does so by examining how the formation of the self is informed by social recognition, the result of which can motivate individuals and groups to engage in struggles for recognition. To pursue this task, the discussion focuses on the insights of Honneth, who grounds his theory of recognition in the intersubjective relations between persons. The idea that recognition impacts the formation of personal identity is regarded as susceptible to the charge of reducing recognition demands into demands for satisfying psychological needs. Contrary to this worry, the central claim of the paper is that such an identity-based understanding of recognition can still be salvaged. More precisely, this can be done by conceiving of demands of recognition as demands for inclusion into personhood through which the moral dimension of recognition struggles is properly understood. This article concludes that despite its potential ambiguities, the notion of personhood and its relation to recognition remains philosophically defensible.