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Cultura International Journal of Philosophy of Culture and Axiology

Volume 15, Issue 1, 2018

Heritage, Knowledge and Memory

Sanja Ivic
Pages 125-145

European Philosophical Identity Narratives

This inquiry examines various philosophical conceptions of identity and the clash between different identity narratives in the history of philosophy. The main goal of this paper is to show how the European philosophical idea of identity was developed. This paper explores the emergence of European philosophical identity narratives, which have shaped the ideas of justice, truth and community in Europe. It studies the foundational identity narratives that underlie the contested idea of a shared European heritage in law and culture, such as the ideas of equality, tolerance, rule of law, pluralism and the rejection of totalitarianism, and their relevance for current debates on philosophical ideas of self and identity. Identity is an open process. It is a dynamic hermeneutic category, which is constantly reinterpreted and reinvented. There are various philosophical traditions of Cogito – some of them perceive it as foundation of all knowledge and some of them perceive it as a mere illusion. In all these philosophical perspectives, the self is understood only through interpretation. The self is constituted as a narrative, as a text. Understanding oneself means understanding oneself in front of a text. The self is reinterpreted all over again only in light of narratives provided by culture. The task of hermeneutics is not only understanding of a subject, but also rethinking the subject.