The Social and Political Philosophy of Solidarity

at Work
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

In recent years there has been a renewed interest in the concept of solidarity in moral, social and political philosophy. With only a few exceptions, the concept had either been completely neglected or assimilated to other notions like social cohesion in thick communities (Jürgen Habermas, communitarianism) or altruistic concern (Richard Rorty) in post-war philosophy. What is especially interesting about the emerging discussion is that it conceives of solidarity as a distinct and specific normative concept that integrates partiality, reciprocity and certain affective attitudes that transcend an attitude of mere respect.

Our workshop brought together different perspectives on the concept of solidarity and addressed the following questions from their respective point of view:

Why is solidarity a distinct and important concept in social and political philosophy? How should solidarity be distinguished from superficially similar notions like loyalty in thick relationships, social cohesion, altruistic concern or fairness?

Are there specific reasons or even obligations of solidarity? If so, how are they generated and how should we understand their normative force?

What is the value of solidarity? How does it relate to other values, especially to the value of justice? Does the ideal of solidarity suggest a superior alternative to the ideal of justice as Marx (in his Critique of the Gotha Programme or his Comments on James Mill) and some feminist scholars suggested? Or can it be understood as an element of an ideal of justice as Rawls sometimes proposed? Or is it one value among many (possibly conflicting) other values, as e. g. G. A. Cohen argued?

Speakers included: Simon Derpmann (University of Münster), Rahel Jaeggi (HU Berlinr, A. J. Julius (UCLA), Lukas Kriegler (HU Berlin), Lukas Kübler (HU Berlin), Yannig Luthra (UCLA), Nick Smith (Macquarie University Sidney and Keele University), Ashley Taylor (University of Sheffield)

Organised by: Rahel Jaeggi, Lukas Kübler and Gabriel Wollner (all HU Berlin)

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The Social and Political Philosophy of Solidarity