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Access_open Private law and ethical life

Honneth on legal freedom and its pathologies

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2013
Keywords Honneth, Hegel, social freedom, legal freedom, law, pathologies
Authors Jan Ph. Broekhuizen
AbstractAuthor's information

    In Das Recht der Freiheit Axel Honneth develops his concept of social freedom. In this article I discuss Honneth’s project and critique one of its crucial aspects: Honneth’s views on the disruptive role of legal freedom in our society and its dependent relation to the sphere of social freedom. I argue that in his attempt in Das Recht der Freiheit to reactualize Hegel’s discourse on the realization of freedom for our time, Honneth risks mistranslating Hegel’s discourse of ‘right’ by denying the sphere of legal relations a constitutive role for true freedom, and that because of this Honneth’s own theory of social freedom suffers: it becomes less clear whether it can still offer helpful insights into the proper place of legal freedom in our society.


Jan Ph. Broekhuizen
Jan Broekhuizen is an attorney (advocaat) in Amsterdam and a deputy judge at the Court of Appeals in Den Bosch (the Netherlands). He holds degrees in both law and philosophy.
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