The intersubjectivist conception of autonomy: Axel Honneth’s Neo-Hegelian critique of liberalism

  • Marjan Ivković Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory; University of Belgrade


The paper reconstructs Axel Honneth’s Neo-Hegelian critique of the classical-liberal conception of autonomy and his articulation of an alternative view of personal autonomy as the property of certain types of intersubjective relations of recognition in modernity, developed most systematically in Honneth’s
recent work Freedom’s Right (Das Recht der Freiheit). The analysis of Freedom’s Right focuses on reconstructing Honneth’s critique of the ‘negative’ and ‘reflexive’ types of freedom (autonomy) articulated within the liberal tradition, and contrasting the former two with the conception of ‘social freedom’ (the intersubjectivist conception of autonomy) that Honneth formulates through a detailed ‘normative reconstruction of modernity’. Finally, the paper considers the proximity of Honneth’s ‘Hegelian liberalism’ to communitarianism.


Honneth, liberalism, autonomy, freedom, intersubjectivity, individualism


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