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Love, Law, and Solidarity: Recognition from Rousseau to Honneth - PHI00123I

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  • Department: Philosophy
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. James Clarke
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: I
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25
    • See module specification for other years: 2023-24

Module summary

The module explores the philosophy of recognition as it is developed by philosophers such as Rousseau, Fichte, Hegel, Beauvoir, Fanon, and Honneth.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2024-25

Module aims

This modules aims to: (i) introduce students to key debates, positions, and arguments in the philosophy of recognition; (ii) to enable students to develop their skills in critical analysis, argument,
and communication.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module students should be able to:

  • demonstrate an understand some key debates, positions, and arguments in the philosophy of recognition.
  • critically evaluate the arguments in support of the positions discussed.
  • develop and clearly articulate their own positions and arguments.

Module content

The philosophy of recognition is an approach to moral, social, and political philosophy that originates in the work of Rousseau and is developed by thinkers such as Fichte, Hegel, Beauvoir, Fanon, and Honneth. Theorists of recognition endorse the thesis that selfhood is partly constituted by certain kinds of relations between persons (relations of recognition). This thesis, they claim, has profound implications for central issues within moral, social, and political philosophy. This module explores these implications by critically engaging with the arguments of the major figures within the tradition of recognition theory. Topics considered will include some or all of the following: the nature and significance of recognition; recognition and human rights; recognition and racism; recognition and feminism; recognition and identity politics; recognition and ideology; recognition and social institutions; recognition and distributive justice.


Task Length % of module mark
Summative Essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Summative Essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

All feedback will returned in line with current University and Departmental policy.

Indicative reading

  • Beauvoir, S. de, The Second Sex (London: Vintage, 2011)
  • Fanon, F., Black Skin, White Masks (New York: Grove Press, 2007).
  • Fichte, J. G., Foundations of Natural Right (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000).
  • Honneth, A., The Struggle for Recognition: The Moral Grammar of Social Conflicts (Oxford: Polity,
  • 1992).
  • Honneth, A. and Fraser, N., Redistribution or Recognition: A Political-Philosophical Exchange
  • (London: Verso, 2004).
  • Kojève, A., Introduction to the Reading of Hegel: Lectures on the Phenomenology of Spirit (New
  • York: Basic Books, 1969).
  • Renault, A., The Experience of Injustice: A Theory of Recognition (New York: Columbia University Press, 2019).
  • Rousseau, J.-J., “Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality Among Men or Second Discourse,” in The Discourses and Other Early Political Writings (Cambridge: Cambridge
  • University Press, 1997).
  • Schmidt am Busch, H.-C. and Zurn, C. F. (eds.), The Philosophy of Recognition: Historical and
  • Contemporary Perspectives (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2010).
  • van den Brink, B. and Owen, D. (eds.), Recognition and Power: Axel Honneth and the Tradition of Critical Social Theory (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007).

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.