Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Identity: Two objects are never identical. Identity is a single object, to which may be referred to with two different terms. The fact that two descriptions mean a single object may be discovered only in the course of an investigation.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Item Summary Meta data
Habermas IV 153
Identity/Philosophy/Psychology/HenrichVsMead/Henrich/Habermas: Henrich thesis: "the connection between genuine philosophical problems and what the term "identity", infiltrated into the psychological enlightenment of the general world, (is) only completely indirect (1)
Habermas: Henrich rightly insists on the distinction between the question of numerical identification and the question of "identity",
Habermas IV 154
when it is meant that a person can simultaneously appear as autonomous and unmistakable in his/her actions:
Henrich: In philosophical theory identity is a predicate that has a special function; by means of it a single thing or object as such is distinguished from others of the same kind; conversely, this predicate allows to say that under different conditions and in different ways of access only one single object can be thematic. Such identity does not require the identical individuals to be distinguished from one another by special qualities. It certainly does not require that a basic pattern of qualities can be shown in them, in relation to which they orient their behaviour or by which this behaviour can be explained in a uniform context. Even a thing that is completely erratic, or a person who changes lifestyle and beliefs with the weather (...), can be characterized in this formal sense as "identical to himself/herself". If something is a single thing, identity must be assigned to it. It makes no sense to say that it is acquiring or losing identity. (2)
Social psychology/identity/Henrich: The concept of social psychological identity has a completely different logical constitution. Here "identity" is a complex characteristic that people can acquire from a certain age. They do not have to have these characteristics and cannot possess them at all times. Once they have acquired them, they are 'independent' by virtue of their characteristic. They can free themselves from the influence of others; they can give their lives a form and continuity which they previously possessed, if at all, only under external influence. In this sense, they are autonomous individuals by virtue of their "identity". And one sees which associations play between the philosophical concept of identity and the social-psychological one. But this does not change the fact that the meanings of the two are completely different.
Any number of individuals can be independent in exactly the same way. If so, they cannot be distinguished as individuals by their 'identity'. (3)
Habermas: Henrich refers explicitly to Meads social psychology. See also Criteria/Henrich.

1.D Henrich, Identität, in: O. Marquard, K. Stierle, Identität, Poetik und Hermeneutik, Bd. VIII, München, 1979, S. 371ff.
2.Ebenda S. 372f

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Henr I
Dieter Henrich
Denken und Selbstsein: Vorlesungen über Subjektivität Frankfurt/M. 2016

Ha I
J. Habermas
Der philosophische Diskurs der Moderne Frankfurt 1988

Jürgen Habermas
Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns Bd. I Frankfurt/M. 1981

Jürgen Habermas
Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns Bd. II Frankfurt/M. 1981

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