2008 Abstracts Stage 3

A Philosophical Investigation into the Loss of the Individual within the Modern Identity

Suzanne Addavide, 2008, Stage 3

Territory: I have chosen to consider the individual through the concept of identity within contemporary society in order to ascertain whether it has truly been ‘lost.’ I also want to consider through this that if it has been lost, what has caused this, and is this necessarily a bad thing? What does it mean to be individual today? Areas of Investigation: I will explore the relationship between the individual and society by looking at the evolution of the individual and what it has meant to be individual. Change: I will compare my territory to the Elizabethan period in the 1600s, as the affect religion and the monarchy had on the individual and on shaping identity compared to nowadays will provide an interesting point of difference. I will also explore why this has changed, and the effects of this change. Philosophical Ideas and Concepts: I will use the work of both Adorno and Levinas to explore my territory within the concept of identity. Adorno focused upon critiquing the concept of identity thinking by exploring it through the way individuals and objects can be subsumed under cover concepts. I will use this to explore what enables this to occur and what in fact happens when people are subsumed, such that it will provide information about what constitutes the individual, and how it could be lost. I will specifically look at his work regarding the Holocaust, where people were subsumed under the concepts of vermin or as merely scientific tools I will also consider Levinas’ work in regards to the Other in order to explore my territory in opposition to Adorno’s ideas. Levinas’ Other will demonstrate the importance of defining the individual in relation to society through the Other. Conclusions: I seek to show that identity can be both fixed and fluid such is the nature of society, our modern identity and our relationship to it.

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