Dr. Ganis Presents Paper at Conference in Italy
Dr. Richard Ganis, Visiting Faculty, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at SHSSL, presented a paper at the Fifth International Critical Theory Conference of Rome, Loyola University Chicago, John Felice Rome Centre, Rome, Italy, on May 9, 2012.
His paper, entitled “Dependency and Ethical Life: Rethinking Honneth’s Recognition-Theoretic Idea of Solidarity,” examined Axel Honneth’s critique of the “cognitive-centric” limitations of various neo-Kantian accounts of solidarity, including that of Jürgen Habermas. In this context, it placed particular emphasis on Honneth’s engagement with the idea of Sittlichkeit, or shared form of ethical life, discussed in G.W.F. Hegel’s early “Jena period” work, as well as in his later Elements of the Philosophy of Right. Although in some respects sympathetic to the left Hegelian intersubjectivism of Honneth’s model, the paper questioned Honneth’s ability to account for instances in which the solidaristic attitude serves not as a normative ideal to be recovered in the interests of redressing misrecognition and furthering “communicative freedom,” but rather as an ideological rationalisation for unjust social arrangements.
The three-day conference at which Dr. Ganis spoke examined the work of writers associated with the tradition of Frankfurt School Critical Theory - including Walter Benjamin, Theodor W. Adorno, Max Horkheimer and Herbert Marcuse - as well as the application of their theories to contemporary society.
To reflect the wide range of topics addressed by Critical Theory, the conference covered different aspects of philosophical reflection on justice, politics, aesthetics, sociology, technology, literature and other relevant fields of study.