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Universal Basic Income and Recognition Theory – A Tangible Step towards an Ideal


  • Mulligan Roisin

    () (Dublin, Ireland)


The philosophical “Recognition” debate may be advanced by exploring recognition theory as a means to justify a concrete policy in the form of Universal Basic Income (UBI). UBI advocacy may also be strengthened by exploring the potential effects of UBI on the manner in which individuals value each other, using theories of recognition. Following a review of the Fraser/Honneth “redistribution or recognition?” debate, Honneth’s theory is deemed most suitable for the purpose of a normative justification of UBI. What is of interest is his emphasis on the manner in which recognition principles change over time, through processes of social reproduction and conflicting values, and his treatment of the importance of reciprocity of recognition. By separating out the spheres of recognition in Honneth’s theory and their developmental trajectories, it is possible to highlight the value of UBI as a concrete policy initiative that will potentially make significant progress towards the recognition ideal.

Suggested Citation

  • Mulligan Roisin, 2013. "Universal Basic Income and Recognition Theory – A Tangible Step towards an Ideal," Basic Income Studies, De Gruyter, vol. 8(2), pages 1-20, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bistud:v:8:y:2013:i:2:p:20:n:3

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Amartya Sen, 1997. "Inequality, Unemployment and Contemporary Europe," STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers 07, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
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