For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

The Idea of Socialism: Towards a Renewal

by Honneth, Axel (2017)


Key Passage

Just like pre-modern social theorists, socialists from Saint-Simon to Marx conceived of the functioning of societies as being vertically directed by a central authority. The only difference is that this authority was not represented by the state, but by the economy. It would have been far more insightful from the perspective of social theory to criticize the capitalist relations of the time for not permitting the various independent spheres of action the freedom to follow their own respective social logic - which was the freedom that representatives of liberalism originally accorded to these spheres. It would have been possible, therefore, to affirm the tendency towards functional differentiation and demand that e.g. love and democracy be excepted from economic imperatives. At the same time, socialists could have expressed their skepticism about the possibilities for establishing this separation under capitalist economic conditions. (p.81)


Socialism, Honneth, Marx, Capitalism, Post-Capitalism, Twenty-First Century, Philosophy, Industrialism, Post-Industrial Society, History, Historiography, Politics, Political Economy


Honneth Citations

Links to Reference


Ganahl, J. P.



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