Grounding social criticism : from understanding to suffering and back
Hirvonen, O. (2019). Grounding social criticism : from understanding to suffering and back. Digithum, 2019 (23), 1-10. doi:10.7238/d.v0i23.3160
© 2019 the Authors
This paper critically examines John Dewey’s and Axel Honneth’s critical social philosophies in order to highlight two different normative sources of social struggle: scientific understanding and social suffering. The paper discusses the relations of these sources with each other and aims to show to what extent the normative sources of Dewey’s and Honneth’s critical social theories are compatible. A further aim is to use the comparison between Dewey and Honneth in order to argue for a desiderata for critical social ontology. The argument is that we want to consistently include both elements – suffering and understanding – in critical social theory as only by having both will critical theory grant a clear enough direction and good enough motivational normative core for a social struggle.