By Julian Culp and Leah SorokoAbstract:
Axel Honneth’s most recent book, Freedom’s Right: The Social Foundations of Democratic Life, is an ambitious and thought-provoking work of social and political theory. Its main impetus is to provide a Hegelian reading of contemporary Western societies – and thus, so to speak, an actualisation of Hegel’s Philosophy of right. Readers of Honneth’s writings will recognise the hallmark of his previous work. He is committed, more than ever, to a Hegelian lens through which he pursues a methodology that explicitly blends normative argumentation and social theory, a method Honneth refers to as normative reconstruction. Similarly to his approach in The Struggle for Recognition: The Moral Grammar of Social Conflict (Honneth, 1996), Honneth (2014: 125) focuses on a single notion – this time it is freedom – through which he develops a theory of justice on the basis of an adaptation of Hegel’s three ‘ethical spheres’ (the family, the market, and the state).