A vital human need: Recognition as inclusion in personhood

Heikki Ikäheimo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Why is recognition of such an importance for humans? Why should lack of recognition motivate people to fight or work for recognition? In this article, I first discuss shortly Axel Honneth's somewhat psychologizing strategy for answering these questions, and suggest that the psychological harms of lack of recognition pointed out by Honneth are neither sufficient nor necessary for motivation to fight or work for recognition to arise. According to the alternative that I then spell out, recognition and lack of it are so intimately intertwined with some of the most fundamental and intuitively appealing facts about what it is to be a person in a full-fledged sense - arguably in any culture - that there are reasons to be optimistic about a more or less universal existence of latent motivation to fight or work for more or more equal recognition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-45
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Journal of Political Theory
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Animals
  • Hegel
  • Honneth
  • Inclusion
  • Lifeworld
  • Norms
  • Persons
  • Recognition


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