Opposition instead of recognition: The social significance of “determinations of reflection” in Hegel’s Science of Logic

Philosophy and Social Criticism 44 (3):253-277 (2018)
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Axel Honneth reconstructs Hegel’s social and political philosophy on the basis of the concept of recognition. For Honneth, recognition is a constitutive relation between individuals that is in principle symmetrical. By conceiving recognition through symmetry, Honneth effectively bans the inclusion of power within recognitive relation. He thus regards the relations of power as cases of non-recognition or misrecognition. In this paper, I develop an alternative theory of the constitutive relation between individuals for Hegel, one that is based on the asymmetrical relation of power. To this aim, I focus on the chapter of “determinations of reflection” in the Science of Logic. Through a close analysis of Hegel’s Logic, I argue that the most fundamental form of relation between individuals is the relation of opposition, that individuals are solely constituted in and through the relation of opposition, and that the relation of opposition is essentially asymmetrical. Together, these claims establish...

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