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ReificationA New Look At An Old Idea$
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Axel Honneth

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195320466

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195320466.001.0001

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(p.3) Introduction

Martin Jay

Oxford University Press

Although Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno's notion that “all reification is a forgetting” and Ludwig Wittgenstein's belief that “all knowledge is in the end based on acknowledgment” are outwardly unrelated, Honneth comes up with an endeavor to link these two incongruent statements. In doing so, he attempts to redefine the concept of reification and set this in the context of the theory of recognition of acknowledgment. As the concept of reification has seemingly been forgotten and undermined, the term disqualified alienation, injustice, exploitation, and other such alternatives to illustrate the negative effects of capitalism. Still the term is used without political implications in the context of contemporary theories. This introductory chapter introduces the complexities attributed to reification through incorporating Marxist principles, Hegelian principles, and other such insights of significant philosophers.

Keywords:   Max Horkheimer, Theodor W. Adorno, Ludwig Wittgenstein, reification, recognition of acknowledgment, capitalism

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