The Philosophical Critique

Linda Martín Alcoff

in Visible Identities

Published in print January 2006 | ISBN: 9780195137347
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199785773 | DOI:

Series: Studies in Feminist Philosophy

 							The Philosophical Critique

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This chapter discusses the philosophical critique of identity. In order to understand the current aversion to cultural identity, one needs to retrace the development of the philosophical treatment of the self in modern, Western philosophy. Charles Taylor's Sources of the Self (1989) is the best recent attempt to do this, and the chapter begins with an overview of some of the main ideas in his philosophical history that relate to the question of identity. Based on readings of Hegel, Sartre, and other key figures, a genealogy of the philosophical critique of identity is developed, which shows that its more fundamental basis is not actually in the Western concept of rationality but in the modern Western treatments of the Other developed in the context of the European colonialism. Finally, it is shown how this legacy lives on today in some aspects of postmodern philosophy.

Keywords: identity politics; social identity; cultural identity; Western philosophy; Charles Taylor

Chapter.  20816 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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