Las Torres de Lucca. International Journal of Political Philosophy, Vol 2, No 2 (2013)

Terrorism, Hegel, Honneth

Sinkwan Cheng


My essay begins by analyzing how Hegel and Honneth’s theory of recognition would seem to lend support to insurgent terrorists’ struggle for the right to self-determination. Insurgent terrorism often looks like a concretization of what Honneth calls the moral protest of the oppressed launched against the dominating powers. Insurgent terrorism also bears affinity to the politics of recognition in the sense that it challenges the legitimacy and authority of the forces owned by the state, and seeks to gain public recognition instead for the legitimacy of their own cause. Precisely because what matters uppermost to terrorists is the gaining of recognition for their cause as just, terrorists are eager to seize the mass media as a means of spreading their ideas. My essay will end, however, by pointing out major differences between insurgent terrorism on the one hand, and Hegel and Honneth on the other.