main floor of Worner Campus Center, 902 N. Cascade Ave. (map)
Chad Kautzer will deliver the second lecture in the Philosophy Department’s 2013-14 colloquium series. Assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado Denver and director of the social justice minor in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Kautzer received a doctorate in philosophy from Stony Brook University in 2008. In 2009, Kautzer co-edited “Pragmatism, Nation, and Race: Community in the Age of Empire” (Indiana University Press) and, in 2004, he edited a special issue of “Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice,” focusing on law and war. In addition to publishing a number of journal articles, reviews, and translations, he is presently working on a book, “Radical Philosophy,” to be published by Paradigm Publishers in 2014.
Kautzer’s talk will make use of the work of Alex Honneth, a German critical theorist whose recent work Kautzer has been translating into English. Honneth’s latest book, “Das Recht der Freiheit” (2011), develops a neo-Hegelian theory of social justice that dynamically incorporates negative, reflexive, and social forms of freedom, as well as the institutional conditions necessary for their development and reproduction. This account of justice, grounded in relations of mutual recognition, enables the identification of social pathologies or the systemic emergence of normative deficits that (1) frustrate individual efforts to reflexively relate their actions to a larger, normative order and (2) inhibits their ability to recognize the freedom of others as a condition of their own freedom. After an assessment of this project, Kautzer will employ Honneth’s theory to diagnose a contemporary social pathology in the sphere of negative freedom (or legally defined individual rights), which impedes social recognition and contributes to social injustice. This particular social pathology, he will argue, is giving rise to a pernicious form of subjectivity, which he calls self-defensive.