Department of Philosophy Conference: “The Struggle for Recognition and the Authority of the Second Person “

Event time: 
Thursday, September 27, 2018 - 9:00am to 7:00pm
Whitney Humanities Center, Auditorium See map
53 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06520
Event description: 

The Department of Philosophy will host a two day conference on “The Struggle for Recognition and the Authority of the Second Person” on September 27 and 28 at the Whitney Humanities Center.

Among the speakers and commentators are: Seyla Benhabib, Stephen Darwall, Peter Dews, Paul Franks, Miranda Fricker, Matthias Haase, Axel Honneth, Thomas Khurana, Kristina Lepold, Berislav Marusic, Frederick Neuhouser, Terry Pinkard, Dirk Quadflieg, Sebastian Rödl, Beate Rössler, Robert Stern, and Jay Wallace. For additional information on the conference

The notion that the human being is defined by its ability to speak and act in the first person is a hallmark of modern philosophy. For Descartes, Leibniz, or Kant, the first distinctly human word is: “I”. This conference investigates the view that there is no “I” without a “You” and that the human being is only fully constituted by relations of second personal recognition. To speak and act in the first person means to speak and act as the second person of a second person. But if that is so, what defines a relation between different beings as second personal? How is a second personal relation established or entered? And what fundamental normative implications does it have for the ones engaged in it?

​The conference “The Struggle for Recognition and the Authority of the Second Person” will draw on two discussions that have developed comprehensive perspectives on these issues: It connects the discussion on “struggles for recognition” which has established a new paradigm for critical theory with the discussion on “the second person standpoint” which has informed new approaches in contemporary ethics. The conference will relate insights from these two perspectives and investigate their implications for issues in ethics and meta-ethics, political and social philosophy, philosophy of law and language. Among the questions to be addressed are: What is the relation between the first, the second, and the third person? What defines an interpersonal relation as second personal and in what ways can we fail to actualize this type of relation? How does a transcendental account of the second personal stance as the condition of possibility of normativity relate to the genealogical account of interpersonal recognition as the result of political and historical struggles? And finally: under which circumstances and in what way may the ideal of a second personal relation and of mutual recognition turn out to be ideological?


9.00 – 9.30        Thomas Khurana (Yale/Essex)
9.30 – 11.00       Terry Pinkard (Georgetown)
                              Are We Struggling for Recognition?​
                              Seyla Benhabib (Yale)
                              Chair Katrin Trüstedt (Yale)

11.15 – 12:45     Sebastian Rödl (Leipzig)
                              Freedom as Right
                              Frederick Neuhouser (Columbia)
                              Chair Francey Russell (Yale)  
12:45 – 2.00       LUNCH BREAK
2.00 – 3.30         Miranda Fricker (CUNY)
                             Moral Protagonists and Their Powers​
                             Kristina Lepold (Frankfurt)
                             Chair Matthew Congdon (Vanderbilt)
3:45 – 5.15         Jay Wallace (Berkeley)
                             Recognition and the Moral Nexus
                             Berislav Marusic (Brandeis)
                             Chair Lorenzo C. Simpson (Stony Brook)
5.30 – 7.00         Stephen Darwall (Yale)  
                             Recognition, Second-Personal Authority, and Non-Ideal Theory
                             Chair Rahel Jaeggi (Berlin/Princeton)

The Struggle for Recognition and the Authority of the Second Person Conference website.

Open to: 
General Public