Review of Axel Honneth, Freedom's Right [Book Review]

Review of Politics 77 (2):327-330 (2015)
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Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose? Not for Axel Honneth,whose Hegelian reconstruction sees freedom as the central, even sole, driving force of Western modernity. Other apparently central values are mere modifications of freedom. Nothin’ don’t mean nothin’ if it ain’t free. In his deliberately grand narrative, Honneth follows Hegel's Philosophy of Right in developing an account of social justice by means of an analysis of society. The end result is an outline of society in terms of roles and ethical relations through which individuals can achieve freedom and self-realization.The construal is at the same time a description of the constitutive spheresof contemporary society, in terms of its less than fully realized potentialsand promises. In Hegelian parlance, the "rational" is in the process of becom-ing "actual" in modern history, but owing to misdevelopments and social pathologies, there is still ample room for social criticism, in light of the veryconcept that these institutions (are meant to) embody, namely, social freedom.
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