Loyola University Chicago

Department of Philosophy

PHIL 434: Hermeneutics and Critical Theory

PHIL 434: Hermeneutics and Critical Theory

The Generic Catalog Description

This course may concentrate either on philosophical hermeneutics (e.g., the work of Gadamer, Ricoeur), or critical theory (Horkheimer, Adorno, Marcuse, Habermas), or it may survey or select from both traditions.


PHIL 434: Hermeneutics and Critical Theory

David Ingram

The course will compare and contrast the political theories of two leading contemporary critical theorists, Axel Honneth and Jürgen Habermas.  Along with some selected works by other critical theorists (Rainer Forst, Nancy Fraser,  and Seyla Benhabib), the course will engage the work of John Rawls and other contemporary Anglo-American political theorists.  Some topics we will discuss include: human rights, democracy, economic (distributive) justice, legitimacy and the rule of law, discourse theory, and recognition theory.  Major required texts:  Axel Honneth: Freedom’s Right: The Social Foundations of Democratic Life (Polity, 2014), Chris Zurn,  Axel Honneth: A Critical Theory of the Social (Polity, 2015). Selections from Honneth’s other major texts will be posted on-line; these texts will include: Reification (2008), The Pathologies of Individual Freedom: Hegel’s Social Theory (Princeton, 2010, and (co-author, Nancy Fraser) Redistribution or Recognition:  A Politcal-Philosophical Exchange (Verso, 2003). Selections from Habermas’s writings on law, democracy, human rights, international law will also be posted on line. Recommended for those who have little or no familiarity with the Frankfurt School tradition of critical theory: David Ingram: Critical Theory and Philosophy (Paragon, 1990).