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Modern identities between autonomy and authenticity

by Anna Krasteva

Identity is usually defined by the formula A=A. What does that mean? According to Heidegger (1968), this formula represents the equality of A and A. The latter requires at least two terms, one A should be equal to another A. If someone says one and the same thing, i.e. a plant is a plant, this is tautology. One term is sufficient for tautology. Equality requires two terms.
The common formula of the principle of identity, A=A, actually conceals its deepest essence, Heidegger stresses. He thinks that this essence is expressed more adequately by A is A, and formulated best as “any A is itself identical with itself” (Heidegger 1968:258). “Identity presupposes a relation denoted by the preposition with, i.e. mediation, link, synthesis: interconnection in a unity” (Heidegger 1968:259).
This expounded definition highlights the distinction between identical and equal. “All differences disappear in the equal, and appear in the identical” (Heidegger 1968:280). This distinction is of fundamental importance, it is a discovery that took long time of thought, slow and profound maturing.


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