December 13, 2013 § Leave a comment
Honneth’s Reconstruction of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right
Axel Honneth’s recent book The Pathologies of Freedom: Hegel’s Social Theory aims to find a contemporary ethical usage for Hegel’s theory of justice from his Elements of the Philosophy of Right first published in 1821. Honneth recognizes that Hegel’s Philosophy of Right (hereafter PR) has fallen out of favor in current political theory. Philosophers these days seem to be paying more attention to Kantian philosophy, particularly Kant’s practical philosophy. Adherents of this trend toward Kant are John Rawls and Jürgen Habermas. Honneth names Charles Taylor and others, as putting forth ideas similar to Honneth’s project in this book, namely the idea of: “communitarianism.” For Honneth, such philosophers like Rawls and Habermas put ethics in a privileged place, rather than morality. “No real attempt has been made in these circles to render Hegel’s PR fruitful for the discourse of political philosophy” (Honneth, 1). It seems that most political philosophers keep their distance from Hegel’s PR for a variety of reasons. Still, Honneth sees hope. People should become interested in Hegel’s ethics. This paper will analyze and detail Honneth’s reconstruction of Hegel’s PR to not only to see what can be found and learned from Hegel’s philosophical, political, and social thought, but what can be retrieved from it all the same.
Hegel is just too difficult to tackle for the impatient reader, especially with all of his systematic complications—not withstanding his vigorous religious overtures. In his reconstitution, Honneth has to be careful with what he uses and what he discards from the PR. There are two prejudices that seem to be widespread in the current disuse of the PR. The first is the most difficult to get around, where we find Hegel in his so-called undemocratic way of conceptualizing freedom, and the individual appears to be subordinate to the authority of the state (Honneth, 4). Hegel didn’t want to recognize the ‘sovereignty’ of the people. The second problem is similar to what was identified earlier, that is, the sheer difficulty of Hegel’s system, at least for Honneth’s reconstruction, where aspects of the PR make use of the Logic, namely Hegel’s ontological conception of the spirit. Still, Honneth sees the PR as a “quarry for brilliant individual ideas” (4). Surprisingly, Honneth doesn’t feel that the whole of the PR can be resuscitated today for the reasons stated above, i.e. Hegel’s unique logical structure as it pertains to PR’s systemization, and Hegel’s underlying problems with his conservative conceptions of the state.
This means that Honneth pictures Hegel’s PR as a normative theory that is applicable to those “spheres of reciprocal recognition” that make up the way societies think about themselves ethically (5). To be sure, there are two elements that Honneth wishes to retrieve, two concepts for the PR that are of “far reaching intuition,” Hegel’s concept of “objective spirit” and his concept of “ethical life” (6). The first concept “objective spirit” (Hegel’s term for what would be otherwise called social life) comprises the idea that social realty is rational, i.e. it is built on a rational structure. Theoretically, for Hegel, any deviations from this structure will inevitably lead to an offence of the rational order of things. The second of Honneth’s inclusions, “ethical life” contains elements that are linked to “objective spirit,” in that both are concerned with social life. There is an idea that in ethical life we have “spheres of action” where everybody (all social participants) shares in the normative conception of ethics, interests and values, in the form of “institutionalized” interactions (Honneth 6). For Honneth, there wouldn’t be much left of Hegel’s PR if we were to sacrifice these key concepts.
Honneth is concerned to give a contemporary reading of the PR while narrowing down reconstruction of what is useful from it, in a four step program:
1. Honneth seeks to find a contemporary explication of Hegel’s obscure notion that the idea of a general free will determines the total extent of what we call right, “which aims at the intersubjective conditions of individual self-realization to all” (7).
2. Then, Honneth will illuminate the immanent way Hegel’s “draft of a theory of justice” is also a diagnosis of “social pathologies” (7). “Abstract right” and “morality” as they are described in Hegel’s PR, should not to be entirely confused with ethical life. The problems that arise from identifying with what Hegel has termed “abstract right” and “morality” as ends in themselves, is thus deemed to be “suffering from indeterminacy” (7). This notion will be explained later, but provisionally speaking, “abstract right” and “morality” are only two steps in Hegel’s hierarchy where “ethical life” is the highest realization of ethics and social life, indicating that Hegel saw “ethical life” as a culmination and further realization above and beyond the other two previous tiers.
3. From this Honneth’s elucidates the idea that Hegel’s theory of justice, re: the PR could describe a “therapeutic” means of “liberating” people who are “suffering from indeterminacy” (7). In Hegel’s conception of “ethical life” the PR describes the manner in which any number of social spheres can enable, and help individuals realize their own freedom. This speaks to Hegel’s “instutionalist” mind frame, since it seems counter-intuitive that one could find individual freedom via an institutional backdrop, yet amazingly, this was Hegel’s way of doing it, and to some extent it ends up making sense. Much of this is different from the kind of “atomistic” freedom Kant and Fichte promulgated, from where Hegel draws his critique while he sublates these previous ethical modes of agent-causalist, liberatarian modes of freedom.
4. There must be room for action within social life where even selfish interests are meted out in the market place. And there must also be room for “ethical life” and “right” to fall under the category of Hegel’s “objective freedom.” The PR suggests a process of self-reflection, governed by reason where it moves and manifests itself in the external world. The subjective world makes way for the universalizing objectivity of the social sphere. “Ethical life” is the mode where society as “objective spirit” finds itself realized. Honneth reminds us that Hegel sees reason as the realization of Spirit (Geist) in ethical life and the objective world of social institutions.
With these points as a general strategy by which to read, and reconstruct Hegel’s PR, Honneth specifies the main goal of the PR situates freedom and the will as two of the governing ideas of the whole book. From the introduction of the PR, Honneth cites a short passage from §29. The first two sentences of this section speak for themselves in terms of their wide reaching scope: “Right is any existence in general which is the existence of the free will. Right is therefore in general freedom as Idea” (Hegel, 58). Again, Honneth designates this as the goal of the PR.
But what can be gleaned from Hegel’s use of the term free will? Autonomy and self determination are incomplete for Hegel. There is, as identified by Honneth, an elementary view of what this means. For example, in a typical understanding, individual self determination has to do with the ability of people to delineate the will from their innate needs and desires. This usually means that the individual has to place restrictions on himself because all desires and appetites usually cannot be met in full. Then, there is a negative conception of free will that looks like Kant and Fichte’s a priori freedom, where the individual has to choose from a range of “given contents” (Honneth, 10). In both examples Hegel objects to a conception of will that seems to be contingent and mostly reliant on the “heteronomous.” This means that the laws and rules are developed from outside the individual, i.e. even if freedom is a priori for Kant and Fichte, it is still having to react to outside forces, these outside forces in relation to a person’s innate sense of freedom are important for Hegel. The “contents” of the self determination is deemed “finite” as cited in §15 of the PR: “the content of this self determination therefore also remains purely and simply finite” (Hegel, 48). In this section, Hegel also calls this particular kind of freedom “arbitrary” (48). Since this is connected to Kant and Fichte, it must be recognized that Hegel’s referring to morality rather than ethics. Honneth calls this type of freedom the “optional model” (11). This “optional model” of freedom depicts self determination as purely a reflective choice (re: it’s optional) that straddles inclination and impulse. Hegel’s practical philosophy develops out of Kant’s dualism between duty and inclination, meaning that he retains Kant’s morality, while at the same time moving beyond it.
Hegel wants to develop a concept of free will where “even the material of self determination loses every trace of heteronomy” (Honneth, 12). For Hegel, as Honneth follows from §10 of the PR: “the will is free only in itself or for us, or it is in general the will in its concept. Only when the will has itself as its object is it for itself what it is in itself” [Hegel’s italics] (44). The will is immediate, and in-itself, or it is a concept that is for-itself, meaning that the will is potential (in-itself) as it is actualized, this actualization does look different than the simple will in-itself (it is for-itself when it is actualized). The will in-itself is finite (re: Kant and Fichte). A shallow reflective view of the will (re: understanding) only can grasp the will as being in-itself, a mere potentiality. Hegelian self-consciousness (for-itself) sees the will as limited (abstract) and not wholly connected it to the ideas of truth and freedom.
Honneth puts it nicely when he suggests that Hegel is “radically sublating contingency in a system of human motivation [my italics]” (12). Two incomplete interpretations of Honneth’s reconstruction can be then be formulated (with Hegel’s modifications):
A.) As much as Hegel is a critic of Kant’s practical philosophy, he also assumes it into the system of the PR, adding the idea that people must “posses the appropriate inclinations” so that these can be transformed from decisions into motives (13).
B.) Or, perhaps Hegel wanted self determination to be inter-locked with human motivation, whereby the individual and, by extension, communities naturally structure an environment that normatively foster “true human freedom” (Honneth, 13). Honneth adheres to this possibility a little more than the first (however, the first is still maintained). It is with this possibility where Honneth brings in a vital quote from one of Hegel’s discussions on a conception of freedom in §7 in to introduction to the PR:
But we already posses this [concrete concept of] freedom in the form of feeling, for example in friendship and love [sic]. Here, we are not one-sidedly within ourselves, but willingly limit ourselves with reference to an other, even when knowing ourselves in this limitation as ourselves. (42).
As it turns out, Honneth’s entire reconstruction and ethical revitalization of Hegel’s PR rests mostly on the above short passage, namely the idea that in friendship we find and limit ourselves with reference to the other, or as Honneth quotes it, in friendship we are “being oneself with the other” (14). This is how freedom should be understood. For the will to be free it should restrict itself to its basic desires, its “first-order volitions” (here Honneth uses a Harry Frankfurt term), this expression confirms the will’s freedom. But this cannot happen unless the object of desire has the “quality of being free, because only such an ‘other’ can really enable the will to experience freedom” (Honneth, 14). More succinctly put, Hegel’s “free will” is only realized in “being with oneself in the other,” and the other has to, likewise, be free (Honneth, 14). This describes what we referred to earlier as communicative, re: the “communicative model of individual freedom” (Honneth 14). Communicative relationships signify the essentially good for Hegel. It is in these networks where we realize our freedom, and as Honneth writes, justice makes this possible (15).
Let it be clear that this is Honneth’s rehabilitation of the PR, since Hegel had slightly more conservative aims with reference to the state, etc. Honneth has to be careful to not say that Hegel merely means to lay down a set of rules or principles by which to realize these goals. Hegel wanted to define right as equivalent to free will and where right is doubly defined by Hegel as a “necessary condition” and a “justifiable claim” (Honneth 15). This simultaneously means that Hegel didn’t think that free will should be a simple legal right, since this too would present an obvious limitation to the comprehensiveness of Hegel’s intent. The legal aspect of rights is more of a formality then what Hegel is aiming for. Hegel’s general plan in the PR appears to be much more normative, rather than prescriptive and moralizing, and this ‘normativity’ fits with Honneth’s modifications. [Correction: Hegel allows for both for the progression of moral normativity, as it ‘ought’ to be, and a description of the actual, where the ought and the actual occur in tandem, i.e. the actualizing tends toward the normativity of the rational. See Michael O. Hardimon’s Hegel’s Social Philosophy: The Project of Reconciliation.] If the PR has to do with justice, it seeks to justify social conditions that enable each person to realize his own freedom, as it is already happening in his social life, and “as a prerequisite of his own self realization” (Honneth, 18).
It is recognized by Honneth that the intent of Hegel’s PR is twofold: (α) to establish the importance of inter-subjective action as it relates to the realization of free will which enables a communicative structure of freedom. To this end, Hegel wanted to establish a framework by which to justify and legitimize the kinds of institutional networks that enable the kinds of freedom and ethics described previously. And importantly, (β) the kind of freedom that these social institutions provide should still be intrinsically incomplete so as to cultivate the necessary room for growth—self realization doesn’t flourish if everything is thoroughly prescribed and legislated ahead of time. Hegel’s strategy is immanently dynamic, not static.
Hegel divided the PR into three distinct categories: “abstract right”, “morality” and “ethical life” Each model conceptualizes aspects of free will in varying degrees. Even though the two preliminary parts “abstract right” and “morality” are to be subsumed into the larger more comprehensive realization of “ethical life,” these two areas are modes where certain factions of society completely identify with. “Abstract right” is characterized with the notion that a person’s subjective rights and formal (legal) rights signify the absolute extent of his freedom. And the second, “morality” strictly locates freedom in a person’s “moral self determination” (Honneth, 21). These two modes of freedom, or conceptions of free will, are still, in a sense, prerequisites for “ethical life.” They, as defined by Hegel in the PR, lead to “social damage” (Honneth, 23). The argument runs something like this: if the two models “abstract right” and “morality” are treated as absolute, a society that treats them as such will develop inevitable pathologies. The only way out of this pathological endgame would be to favor a communicative structure of freedom that enables the individual to find his freedom in the ‘other’ implemented through friendship, and the array of institutional equivalents. Another way of putting it would be to say that Hegel has to show the structural development of freedom through the two modes, while at the same time demonstrating their respective flaws, all in order to make a case for the liberating and normalizing qualities of “ethical life.” The notion of liberation is important for both Hegel and Honneth’s respective projects. Liberation will be looked at in more detail later. Meanwhile, Honneth presents these pathologies as Hegel described them in his diagnosis of “abstract right” and “morality,” they are: “solitude,” “vacuity,” “burden,” and surely more can be found. These few, Honneth says, can “be reduced to the common denominator of ‘suffering from indeterminacy’” (23). Hegel has to show how these models can exist in the world, but also how we can remain avoid being “indifferent” to them all the while, this is a problem that not only Hegel had to grapple with, but we too have to try to do this with the people we live amidst, in order to create a more communicative space for each other, rather than only for ourselves, or only to fulfill our personal and lofty moral obligations.
Briefly put, Honneth works to illustrate Hegel’s normative theory of justice as conceptualized by means of the social entities that place a premium on the self realization of the individual. Hegel’s modern legal system derives from this simple conception. In order to realize this, Honneth has to, like we have to, struggle through the heady philosophical structure of the PR. What he derives from this, is that two conditions need to be fulfilled “there must be a framework in which they [persons] learn to understand themselves as persons bearing rights” and “there must be a moral order in place” (28). These two things make for a better ground from where self realization can be brought about in any given social institution. And, one shouldn’t ignore the fact that these two elements bear such a close resemblance to “abstract right” and “morality” respectively. If it hasn’t been said already, the mistake would be to read the PR as an attempt to fully subordinate the two models, Honneth writes “accordingly, Hegel’s works contain innumerable passages pointing out the dangers attendant on detaching morality form its wider context and construing it as a fully independent sphere…” (29). Here, we’ll take “morality” to mean Hegel’s “ethical life,” meaning that we can’t just take it to be the only picture of ethics we have available. So the real problem at hand is when we think that any of these modes of ethics, freedom, and free will can be detached from the others. The deleterious assumption that any of these models can be effectively detached from the others is a gross misunderstanding of Hegel’s conception of “objective spirit.” In Hegel’s system “objective spirit” presupposes a whole rational order, and when one steps away from that order, there are bound to be problems for the individual as much as for the whole—hence “the pathologies of individual freedom.” Given these problems and none of this is without problems, Honneth shows, by means of Hegel’s project, how the two models of “abstract right” and “morality” are indispensible to the whole of the PR. Both “abstract right” and “morality” are modeled by Hegel, in what Honneth calls the “action-theoretical” approach (32). This “action-theoretical” approach shows how each mode leading up to (and including) “ethical life” can be presented in what particular actions each mode takes to be normative, e.g. how property rights actually take effect, or how marriage contracts are important in their particular contractual realizations, and so on.
If we’ve read Hegel’s PR correctly, “abstract right” is not only concerned with basic fundamental rights, it also has to do with formal rights, read primarily as legal rights. Honneth focuses on §§41-48, these sections are part of “abstract right,” and they are under the sub-category of “Property” (Hegel, 73-79). By definition, this mode of realizing and actualizing “abstract right” is inter-subjective, even if it can be selfishly motivated and conceptualized in the minds of the participants, ‘this land is legally mine, not yours,’ etc. Still, there is the possibility of individual self realization in this model. Although we can see that the total embrace of formal, legal rights, i.e. self righteousness and dogmatism, can lead to people having the problem of not understanding how this mode of formal rights can be more nuanced and context-sensitive. Yet, it can easily be seen that this model of right cannot be done away with, since we need laws, rules and regulations to carry on in a civilized way. There are those who willingly subvert laws, etc. There is a value to subjective rights. There is nothing wrong with claiming one’s individual rights, as much as there isn’t a problem with having clear legal boundaries and guidelines. But, one can always choose to treat these rights as the only way to be, to hide and “withdraw” behind them as if that’s all there is (Honneth, 36).
For the other model “morality” Hegel designated a way to show the value of morality, while at the same time critiquing a view that moral rights are the only way to go. Morality has to stand above and beyond formal subjective rights, for the simple reason that there is more to the way we act other than legal codes of action. All moral decisions don’t need to be legally codified. For instance, there doesn’t always need to be a law in place to help someone in need. A matter of moral freedom cannot be always be legislated. “Individual freedom [as it’s realized in morality] first reveals that dimension which touches on the relationship of the subject with himself…” so for Honneth, and for us, morality too is indispensible since it draws us up from pure formal righteousness into moral civility. If anything, we have to conceptualize modes of moral freedom in ourselves, before we can do the same for (and with) others. Honneth admits that he can’t detail Hegel’s full critique of Kant’s “categorical imperative” yet one argument stands out: the issue of “context-blindness” (39-40). It stands to reason that Kant’s “categorical imperative” might become problematic in varying contexts, and that a specific context helps determine how one will act morally (or not, as the case may be). Basically, for all its merits, Kant’s morality lacks the kind of normative, day to day flexibility Hegel desired—one doesn’t always know the universal way to act. There is always the question: is Hegel a moral relativist? Probably not, since Hegel in §138 indicates that when the norms of society are unable to serve us, as they have before, we “…must seek to recover in ideal inwardness alone that harmony which has been lost in actuality” (Honneth, 41). What formal laws cannot cover morality has to serve as a guide—and this is limited.
Now we’ve come to another critical quote found by Honneth, from Hegel’s “Ethical Life” chapter in the PR, §149:
The individual however finds his liberation in duty. On the one hand, he is liberated from his dependence on mere natural drives, and from the burden he labors under as a particular subject in his moral reflections on obligation and desire; and on the other hand, he is liberated from that indeterminate subjectivity which does not attain existence or the subjective determinacy of action, but remains within itself and has no actuality (192-193).
This section clarifies, and repeats, some of the main issues Honneth pulls from the PR, re: the problematic nature of remaining in the subjective mode of morality and basic drives (“morality” and “abstract right” respectively), while at the same time liberating oneself from these spheres. The word “indeterminacy” shouldn’t be ignored either, due to its significance for what it means if one were to stick in the “abstract right” and “morality” models. So, the idea of liberation is from the suffering incurred from the “pathologies of freedom.” As an aside, Honneth’s very mention and concern for suffering exposes his Frankfurt School roots, especially with a strong connection to Theodore Adorno’s Critical Theory. Back to liberation, this is considered to be a “decisive point where the transition to ethical life occurs in Hegel’s text” (Honneth, 45). Liberation from the suffering brought about by the stasis of formal rights and the moral, represents the ability to get away from the problems brought about by the pathologies, and just as importantly, they both represent a grounding from which to carry forth into Hegel’s conception of ethical life.
In Honneth’s reconstruction, not only does he have to advocate for the liberating quality of Hegel’s “ethical life,” he has to simultaneously place Hegel’s conception of friendship in the forefront of his redux. In order to do this, Honneth praises Hegel for the inclusion of the family in “ethical life.” If only to demonstrate that the family is where a person receives the necessary developmental ethics to face society at large. In the family “we realize part of ourselves because the other effortlessly endorses those of our inclinations, impulses, and needs that are a part of our natural equipment as ‘feeling’ human creatures” (Honneth, 66). There is an intrinsic amount of care and compassion that goes along with family life that is indispensible to our conception of everyday ethics in social life. Aside from Hegel’s sloppy chauvinism, the primary ethics of family life represent a primer for the ethics the wider world (if handled without abuse, neglect, etc.) (Honneth, 67). An argument can be made to situate friendship as another way that “at the level of feeling, represent[s] an exemplary case of a relationship that show[s] how a subject could reach complete freedom only through ‘limitation’ to another subject” (Honneth, 67). Friendship acts in much the same way as the family, only without the requisite problems, and contractual limitations of marriage. The mutually engaging intersubjectivity of friends provides a normalizing way in which ethics are realized for the individual. Our “communicative” freedom is justifiably recognized in the practice of becoming friends, at a very rudimentary level of being respectful to others, and at the socially advanced level of getting things done, business partnerships, political affiliations, international diplomacy, etc. In spite of the fact that Honneth recognizes the lack of any mention of friendship in Hegel’s “ethical life,” Honneth does argue that “perhaps it would have been more consistent with his intentions if he [Hegel] had not summed up his entire intuition of self-realization through reciprocal love in the image of a fully developed institution [re: marriage, the family]” (72). Such a thing as love is viewed by Hegel as “open to contingency” as quoted by Honneth from §161 of the PR (69). Honneth speculates that Hegel didn’t include friendship in “ethical life” because the family represented a more stable and durable social institution that serves as a ready-made model from which Hegel could sketch a basis of ethical life preceding “civil society” and “the state” (69).
Standing apart from the criticisms of the closing chapter of Honneth’s book, the idea of liberation is worthy of a second, and concluding review, if only to remind us of a key aspect of Honneth’s and Hegel’s intent. Going back to Hegel’s addition to §149 in the PR, one is reminded of a kind of positive freedom that is manifested after the subjective pathologies of “abstract right” and “morality” are no longer viewed as entirely, or absolutely sufficient. A positive sense of freedom is furthermore encapsulated in Honneth’s re-quote of Hegel from the addition to §7 of the PR, whereby friendship is conceptualized as “being oneself with the other” (14). If liberation is brought about by “being oneself with the other” in terms of friendship, it should stand to reason that Hegel’s PR was worth Honneth’s second look. Under these circumstances, this normalizing conceptualization not only drives home the point that one should strive to find freedom in other people, but also, that this phenomena is already happening. It is only when we are able to make this Hegelian determination into a notion of freedom to be utilized on a day-to-day basis, will we be able to maximize what it means to simply be friendly, and to offer the kind of diplomacy it takes to get things done in this world. This is welcome news nowadays in our overly cynical culture, where ‘being too nice’ is almost a radical gesture (if not considered spineless). But, Hegel’s message was not to moralize, it was more of a way to talk about how things are actualized, “the owl of Minerva begins its flight only with the onset of dusk” (Hegel, 23). If this notion is true, then it is incumbent on us to studiously observe what actually works, and to take it from there, as respectfully as possible, for ourselves, and most importantly, with and for others…
 Axel Honneth, The Pathologies of Individual Freedom, Ladislaus Löb, trans. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010).
 G.W.F. Hegel, Elements of the Philosophy of Right, Allen W. Wood, ed., H.B. Nisbet, trans. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991).
 It world be worth it to research Honneth’s claim regarding this, especially as it pertains to Rawls, since both Habermas and Rawls have worked with Hegel’s PR in the past. Also, see: Sibyl A. Schwarzenbach, “Rawls, Hegel, and Communitarianism,” Political Theory, Vol. 19, No. 4 (Nov., 1991): 539-571.
 Incidentally, this translation, at times, interchanges the terms: ethics and morality, something that proves to be a little distracting, given that Hegel worked so hard to limit Kant’s morality next to Hegel’s ‘new-and-improved’ version of “ethical life.” Not all is lost. The translation error only takes a second to ameliorate. One should pay closer attention to Honneth’s nuanced and sophisticated intent to salvage what he can of the PR. Honneth thinks that the PR needs a better legitimacy in today’s political climate for good reasons.
 See Encyclopedia of Marxism: Glossary of Terms, “aufheben,” “Aufheben can be translated as to sublate, to abolish, to transcend or to supersede or even ‘to pick up,’ ‘to raise,’ ‘to keep,’ ‘to preserve,’ ‘to end’ or ‘to annul.’ Literally and originally, aufheben meant ‘to pocket,’ as when someone pockets your payment but continues to work for you.” http://www.marxists.org/glossary/terms/a/u.htm
 See Robert M. Johnson, “The Moral Law as Causal Law,” Kant’s Groundwork: A Critical Guide, J.
Timmerman, ed., (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010). http://web.missouri.edu/~johnsonrn/causal.pdf
 See R. C. Solomon, “Hegel’s Concept of ‘Geist’” The Review of Metaphysics Vol. 23, No. 4, (Jun., 1970): 642-661.
 …as mentioned earlier, the translator gets these terms confused.
 See Harry Frankfurt, “Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person,” Free Will, Gary Watson, ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), 322-336.
 See Axel Honneth, Pathologies of Reason: On the Legacy of Critical Theory, James Ingram, trans. (New York: Columbia University Press, 2009).
See David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest (New York: Little, Brown and Co., 1996). “What passes for hip cynical transcendence of sentiment is really some kind of fear of being really human, since to be really human […] is probably to be unavoidably sentimental and naïve and goo-prone and generally pathetic.”