Author(s): Axel Honneth
Theories of justice often fixate on purely normative, abstract principles unrelated to real-world applications. The philosopher and theorist Axel Honneth addresses this disconnect, constructing a theory of justice derived from the normative claims of Western liberal-democratic societies and anchored in the law and institutionally established practices that possess moral legitimacy. Termed a democratic ethical life, Honneths paradigm draws on the spirit of Hegels Philosophy of Right and his own theory of recognition, demonstrating how concrete social spheres generate the principles of individual freedom and a standard for what is just. Using social analysis to re-found a more grounded theory of justice, Honneth argues that all crucial actions in Western civilization, whether in personal relationships, market-induced economic activities, or the public forum of politics, share one defining characteristic: they require the realization of a particular aspect of individual freedom. This fundamental truth, Honneth shows, informs the guiding principles of justice, enabling a wide-ranging reconsideration of its theory.
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