Att vara utom sig inom sig: Charles Taylor, erkännandet och Hegels aktualitet

Sammanfattning: This dissertation work has a twofold aim. It critically examines Charles Taylor’s philosophy of recognition, by focusing on Taylor’s actualization of elements from German Idealism, more precisely those borrowed from Herder, Humboldt, and Hegel. Based on this reading, it is argued for an analytically more relevant actualization of Hegel’s dialectical philosophy in contemporary discussions about recognition of identities. Through an examination of the conceptual structure of Taylor’s philosophy, I investigate the historical ideas on which his theory of recognition is based. In doing so, my claim is that this theory cannot be fully understood or criticized in the absence of an adequate account of the historical elements, notably the dynamic conception of essence, underpinning it. The approach adopted here, however, is not solely one of contextualization. By focusing on the term actualization, I emphasize that I am not exclusively concerned with hermeneutically oriented interpretation. More than that, I am interested in the way Taylor constructs history, in the way he builds a continuum of tradition by actualizing in the contemporary socio-political context, certain historical and philosophical ideas. By viewing recognition as a self-restoring movement, I argue that Taylor ends up reproducing the very notion of autonomy he purports to undermine, even if on a collective level. I suggest that an analytically more relevant understanding of the dialectical movement sees it as a process of self-expropriation, in which recognition is understood as a two-edged force, captured by the twofold sense of the term exposure: We are exposed by and to each other, that is, being put outside ourselves as well as being vulnerable to others.

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