Summarizing The Desire for Mutual Recognition

Chapter 8: Knowledge, Truth, and Understanding

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This book has relied implicitly the compelling nature of phenomenological descriptions in illuminating human and inter-human reality--both the experience of social alienation and the experience of mutual recognition itself and the transcendence of alienation. This chapter supports the truth-value of these descriptions by contrasting scientific or "detached" knowledge from the engaged knowledge resulting that relies for its truth-value on "illumination" as opposed to proof. The chapter also presents a critique of the detachment and rationality implicit in liberalism, Marxism, and deconstruction and shows how these world-views are actually denials of the spiritual dimension of human reality. The chapter concludes by showing how the work of illumination of the "rising" of social movements reveals the spiritual character of the mutual recognition occurring in such movements as incarnations of the universal through the particularity of any social struggle. Following from this, the chapter concludes with a critique of identity politics in its placing too much weight on the conditioning of particularity as against the emergence of our spiritual awareness of our common humanity that the movement itself makes possible.

Peter Gabel