Being Oneself in Another: Recognition and the Culturalist Deformation of Identity

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 55 (2):148-170 (2012)
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Abstract Nancy Fraser raises serious doubts about the critical potential of identity theories of recognition on the ground that they encourage the reduction of personal identity to cultural identity. Based on a comparative analysis of Charles Taylor's and Axel Honneth's theories of recognition, this paper argues that Fraser's critique is justified with respect to some aspects of Taylor's theory of identity, but not with respect to his conception of recognition, or to Honneth's conception of both identity and recognition. Taylor's theory of identity recognition is vulnerable to Fraser's critique because under certain conditions of pathological socialization it cannot prevent the normative subordination of strong evaluation to whatever dominant goods are acquired through acculturation. Honneth's theory of identity recognition overcomes this normative weakness in three ways. First, Honneth differentiates between three types of self-relation that cannot be reduced to cultural identity. Second, he operates with a mixed, attributive?responsive model of recognition that normatively underwrites all these types of self-relation. Third, he makes the condition of reciprocity in recognition the criterion for successful self-realization that enables one to distinguish between misrecognition and non-normative experiences of human suffering



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Radu Neculau
University of Windsor

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References found in this work

Sources of the self: the making of the modern identity.Charles Taylor - 1989 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity.Charles Taylor - 1989 - Cambridge, Mass.: Cambridge University Press.
The Ethics of Authenticity.Charles Taylor - 1991 - Harvard University Press.
Oneself as Another.Paul Ricoeur - 1992 - University of Chicago Press.

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