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Fr. 674

September 18, 2015

C.) opens a gap between individual and identity, understood respectively as that construct or property of self as bearer of a concrete, personal history and the creation of a self-image for others. The interlocutor here refuses to reflect that personal history in the image presented to others. A practical principle, deriving from this, may seek to require strict correlation between individual and identity, at the price of being excluded from future discourse.

D.) refuses to acknowledge the importance to political discussion of individual and identity, understood respectively as that construct or property of self as bearer of a concrete, personal history and the creation of a self-image for others. Specifically, the interlocutor abstracts considerations of the above from the reasons that he or she addresses to the other. A practical principle may remedy this by castigating or shaming those who do not attempt to meet their audience halfway.

E.) turns on a too strong a view of subject too strong a view of subject understood as a construct or property of self as bearer of rights. The other’s position crosses a certain line, most likely with regard to the interlocutor’s understanding of his or her rights as isolating him or her from certain kinds of discourse, e.g. having to listen to religious reasons. This amounts to an occlusion of the other’s self, understood as the mental or emotional correlate to person as substrate or vehicle for senses of self and personal history and for which the other cannot be held entirely unaccountable. For the interlocutor’s refusal to listen on the basis of rights can be viewed as a condemnation of the other’s self. An injunction could likewise be issued to make room, inasmuch possible, for the other’s partial unaccountability for self.

F.) sets out from a similarly strong view of subject to the detriment of individual. Insofar as notions of public sphere and public reason turn on a conception of subject understood as a construct or property of self as bearer of rights and on rights as qualities independent of or abstracted from personal history or concrete circumstances, these same notions eclipse modes under which others might give voice to their individuality, understood as a construct or property of self as bearer of a concrete, personal history. Again, room must be made for the conceptual background and resources which the other qua individual brings to discourse. More simply, the bounds for discourse cannot be fixed in terms of public reason.

G.) demonstrates that this same point can be turned on its head in that discourse and interlocutors can make too much of individual and identity, understood, respectively, as a construct or property of self as bearer of a concrete, personal history and as the creation of a self-image for others. If the interlocutor considers that the conceptual background and resources of his her individual or identity are so particular as to preclude their understanding by another, then he or she has given too little weight to the other’s ability to abstract from particulars so as to find common ground. Here, the subject, understood as a construct or property of self as bearer of rights and common to all, has been obscured from view. A corrective lies in discounting talk of conceptual discontinuity.

H.) shows too strong a concern for and too rigid a view of identity and self, understood respectively as the more or less conscious creation of a self-image for others and the mental or emotional correlate to person as substrate or vehicle for senses of self and personal history. In positing the terms of identity and self as immutable, the interlocutors make of these a prison in which no discourse is welcome. More specifically, subject and identity have been occluded as the elements of a changing personal history. Therefore, such an error can be corrected in appealing to the interlocutors’ personality, i.e. existence as concrete persons and bearers of rights.

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