PHIL 758

European Continental Philosophy 2


The Philosophy of Recognition

There are few more powerful drivers of human action than the desire for recognition—the longing to be understood, accepted, respected and esteemed. Not only is life more pleasant when we experience relationships of care, dignity and affirmation, the evidence suggests that our human flourishing depends upon it. Over the past 25 years “recognition theory” has emerged as a new field in social and political philosophy, and is currently establishing itself as an important field of interdisciplinary research. But recognition theory is still in its infancy, and in the literature even basic questions remain unresolved.

This course is organised in three parts. (1) The first part focuses on some classic texts from the history of philosophy that have informed recent debates. Authors include Jean-Jacques Rousseau, JG Fichte, and GWF Hegel. (2) The second part of the course introduces some recent classic texts on the theme of recognition. Authors include Charles Taylor and Axel Honneth. (3) The final part of the course examines recent debates in the literature.

The course objectives are to:

  • Provide an introduction to the theme of recognition from both a historical perspective and in relation to contemporary debates in philosophy
  • Develop students’ skills in reading, interpreting and critically assessing philosophical texts
  • Enhance students’ capabilities in scholarly analysis, interpretation of evidence and presentation of reasoned arguments

Availability 2023

Not offered in 2023; planned for 2024




PHIL 758: 15 points