|About the Book|
In this study I claim that identity is at least partially constituted in and through our relationships with others. That is, what it means to be me is not entirely up to me, but is accomplished in collaboration with others. It is on aMoreIn this study I claim that identity is at least partially constituted in and through our relationships with others. That is, what it means to be me is not entirely up to me, but is accomplished in collaboration with others. It is on a phenomenological perspective that other humans help to make sense of our world. In this way, phenomenology serves as a more coherent and complete explanation for what it is to be human.-I Begin by dealing with the Cartesian view of human identity and reality, and describe Descartes means of access to other human beings. Because Descartes cogito only has access to other cogitas by way of inference and analogy, I argue this view is unsatisfactory. Descartes claims here do not match up with our ordinary, robust experience of our connections with others.-In chapter two, I claim that phenomenology (generally) and the work of Merleau-Ponty and Russon (specifically) develop a more coherent view of personal identity and reality. After establishing this position on identity and reality, I draw on Merleau-Pontys claim that we have access to others by virtue of an internal relation. I interpret this internal relation as a set of fundamental processes that require others for their completion. I discuss the pairing relation (the means by which a child develops her bodily self-awareness) and language. These are processes that involve another person from the outset, and so establish channels by which access to others is available.-The central task of chapter three is to show more precisely the role of others in forming identity. To reinforce this claim, I discuss certain forms of verbal behavior that our relationships with others allow. Allowance is a term I introduce here to indicate certain verbal behaviors only possible in particular relationships - namely, gossip and truth-telling. In these examples, I show the ways in which identity is enacted in and through interpersonal behavior.-I conclude the study by briefly describing the ways in which the insights Ive developed here prepare the ground for investigations into ethics and interpersonal responsibility.