International colloquium with Axel Honneth “Democracy, Socialism and Engagement: Axel Honneth and Critical Theory Today”

Belgrade, June 21-22, 2019

Critical Theory today faces a daunting triple challenge: to explain the far-reaching societal transformations that have undermined democracy across the globe over the past decade, justify the normative foundations for the critique of these processes in universalist terms, and present a vision of the good society that can provide, not just normative orientation, but political inspiration to different kinds of progressive social engagement – all this without succumbing to the dangers of epistemological authoritarianism and the consequent particularism of its own diagnosis. Perhaps more than any other author, Axel Honneth has devoted himself to synthesizing these fundamental tasks of Critical Theory within one comprehensive theoretical perspective. From his early criticism of Habermas to his mature theory of recognition, Honneth has sought to formulate a critique of injustice and domination in contemporary capitalism that would at the same time provide social-theoretical insight into the deep-seated causes of persistent forms of injustice, be post-metaphysical enough to adequately respond to the charges of essentialism, particularism and perfectionism, and overcome epistemological authoritarianism through developing a particular sensitivity for the experiences of ordinary social actors. The culmination of this project is Honneth’s mature Neo-Hegelian perspective centred around the concept of “social freedom” and developed most thoroughly in his two recent complementary studies, Freedom’s Right and The Idea of Socialism. Starting from Honneth’s perspective as exemplary of Critical Theory in its most self-reflexive and nuanced incarnation, this international colloquium will examine the potentials of Critical Theory today to provide conceptual tools for diagnosing and overcoming injustice in the age of complex forms of social domination and the dismantling of liberal democracy from two supposedly juxtaposed directions: those of technocratic “radical centrism” and right-wing populism.

Programme
Friday, 21. June

Venue: Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory (IFDT)

10:00 | Smail Rapić, University of Wuppertal

Honneths Marx-Kritik in Die Idee des Sozialismus – eine Entgegnung (Honneth’s Critique of Marx in The Idea of Socialism  – a Response)

12:00 | Charles Djordjevic, University of Zürich

Recognizing Expressions of Pain: Honneth, Wittgenstein, and the Normative Underpinnings of the Social World

14:00 | Lunch

Venue: Kolarac Open University, Mala sala (Small Lecture Hall)

17:00 | Petar Bojanić, Director of the Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade

Welcome address followed by the Ceremony of the Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory’s Annual Award for Critical Engagement “Miladin Životić”

17:15 | Axel Honneth, Columbia University

Award Lecture: Democracy and the Division of Labor. A blind spot in political philosophy

18:15 | Smail Rapić, University of Wuppertal

Snježana Prijić-Samaržija, University of Rijeka

Marjan Ivković, the Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade

Comments on Axel Honneth’s Award Lecture

Saturday, 22. June

Venue: Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory (IFDT)

09:00 | Seminar with Axel Honneth on the book The Idea of Socialism: Towards a Renewal (Die Idee des Sozialismus: Versuch einer Aktualisierung).

Participants: Željko Radinković, Predrag Krstić, Aleksandar Fatić, Rastko Jovanov, Marjan Ivković, Srdjan Prodanović, Jelena Vasiljević, Adriana Zaharijević, Igor Cvejić, Mark Lošonc (Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory), Đorđe Pavićević (University of Belgrade), Simon Pistor (University of Zürich), and author

12:30 | Lunch

13:00 | Zdravko Kobe, University of Ljubljana

Transformation of Public Knowing: Some Hegelian Remarks in Honneth’s Mode

15:00 | Marco Solinas, Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa

The Actuality of Marx’s Errors. Neoliberalism and Honneth’s Idea of Socialism