Recognition and Reification from Axel Honneth's Ethical Perspective

Vereno Brugiatelli


In this article I intend to analyse the issue of reification in the light of the dynamics of man’s recognition and misrecognition from Honneth’s ethical perspective. Marx, Lukacs and the philosophers of the Frankfurt School highlighted the fact that the different processes of reification are deeply rooted in the logic of the market and the techno-scientific reasoning of capitalist society. For Axel Honneth such explanations do not fully grasp the entirety of the reifying phenomena and, above all, they do not identify the actual dynamics of such phenomena. In the first part, I will evaluate some aspects of the non-reifying relations that Honneth has identified in Dewey and Heidegger’s considerations. Then, I will focus on the “original disposition” to recognition which he believes to be fundamental for establishing non-reifying relations. In this regard I will highlight the fact that the processes of reification are based on the forgetfulness of recognition of self and others.