Anerkendelse og Lykke

Jeppe Madsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


The following is a study of Axel Honneth’s critical theory of recognition and how this can be augmented with data from happiness research. The recognition theory as Honneth formulates it is an update of Hegel’s original work from the Jena papers in which Hegel developed a social philosophy with a focus on intersubjective relations and recognition. Furthermore Honneth’s theory is an attempt to link critical theory to a pre-scientific notion of injustice in form of the moral feelings that individuals may experience when they are not recognized and feel disregarded The recognition theory consists of three recognition spheres concerning love, judicial and social appreciation. The three spheres are also steps in a social and individual development process. In the absence of recognition individuals will experience a feeling of disregard and it is from this moral feeling of injustice that the theory draws its critical potential for pointing out unjust structures in society. The recognition theory has an immanent drawing towards a practical sense of reality in the sense of its focus on individuals’ experience as a source of critic in contradiction to general theories about crisis in society. However the recognition theory in itself is not connected to empirical reality in any notable extent and it is therefore interesting to study if it can be augmented with data from happiness research. The key plot is to show that intersubjective relations and recognition in its three spheres can be seen reflected in factors that are correlated with happiness. Furthermore this study aims to show if critical potential and effect of disregard also can be seen in happiness research. Finally there will be a discussion of how happiness have an immanent critical aspect, how it may be integrated as a viable unit into policy decisions and how recognition theory might supply it with solutions to some general problems.

Educations, (Bachelor/Graduate Programme) Graduate
Publication date29 Apr 2016
SupervisorsBent Greve


  • lykke
  • anerkendelse