Ethical Theory and Moral Practice

, Volume 11, Issue 5, pp 573–586 | Cite as

Personal Respect, Private Property, And Market Economy: What Critical Theory Can Learn From Hegel



The aim of the present paper is to show that Hegel’s concept of personal respect is of great interest to contemporary Critical Theory. The author first analyzes this notion as it appears in the Philosophy of Right and then offers a new interpretation of the conceptual relation between personal respect and the institutions of (private) property and (capitalist) markets. In doing so, he shows why Hegel’s concept of personal respect allows us to understand markets as possible institutionalizations of this kind of recognition, and why it is compatible with a critique of neoliberal capitalism. He argues that due to these features Hegel’s notion of personal respect is of great interest to theoreticians within the tradition of critical theory.


Critical Theory Economics Hegel Freedom Personality Property Recognition 



I have presented different parts of my paper at the Department of Philosophy of the University of Kentucky in Lexington (November 11, 2006) and at the International Conference “Hegels Theorie der Subjektivität,” which took place at Debrecen University (Hungary) from September 27 to September 30, 2006. I should like to thank the participants for their helpful comments and suggestions. Special thanks are due to Daniel Breazeale, Andrew Buchwalter, Axel Honneth, Mattias Iser, Thomas McCarthy, Michael Quante, Erzsébet Rózsa, Christopher F. Zurn and two anonymous reviewers.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for PhilosophyJohann Wolfgang Goethe-UniversityFrankfurtGermany
  2. 2.WiesbadenGermany

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