The critique of justice in the debate between Nancy Fraser and Axel Honneth: notes toward a critical theory

Vinicius Ferreira Baptista


The aim of the present essay is to discuss the debate between Nancy Fraser and Axel Honneth, through a dialog between the topics justice, framing and moral person. The work in which the authors are face to face was analyzed and parallel works by both authors were compared; simultaneously, a theoretical thread was built by observing their individual works, which address the sense of subject and Justice. The issue confronting them is not “recognition versus redistribution”, but the construction their analyses depart from: (i) be it from a macro or microsocial perspective, (ii) broader structural relationships or subjectivity processes built on ethics, (iii) the basic, or gradually built, principle of a previous “good” life. Obviously, these questions are addressed through the argumentative forms subscribed by the authors, and they seem to be opposed to each other due to a mere disagreement between authors; however, far from resulting in stagnation, the debate leverages their points of view. In this point, Nancy Fraser and Axel Honneth contribute to the development of the most fundamental point of the Critical Theory, namely: developing elements that allow a better understanding of reality through perspectives that are engaged with in social change.

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