Taylor—The Politics of Recognition

The Politics of Recognition

by Charles Taylor

[Taylor, Charles. 1994. “The Politics of Recognition.” In Multiculturalism: Examining the Politics of Recognition, edited by Amy Gutmann, 25–73. Princeton University Press.]

Points

  • “our identity is partly shaped by recognition or its absence, often by the misrecognition of others, and so a person or group of people can suffer real damage, real distortion, if the people or society around them mirror back to them a confining or demeaning or contemptible picture of themselves. Nonrecognition or misrecognition can inflict harm, can be a form of oppression, imprisoning someone in a false, distorted, and reduced mode of being” (25).
  • “Within these perspectives, misrecognition shows not just a lack of due respect. It can inflict a grievous wound, saddling its victims with a crippling self-hatred. Due recognition is not just a courtesy we owe people. It is a vital human need” (26, bold added).

How did we get here?:

  1. social hierarchies collapsed, and with them the traditional idea of honor
    • “For some to have honor in this sense, it is essential that not everyone have it” (27).
  2. honor is replaced by the notion of dignity, which everyone shares in equal measure
    • we are born with it and is totes compatible with Democratic society
  3. As Democracy leads to a more individualized society, dignity becomes understood more in terms of authenticity—being the individual identity that you really are
    • so this dignity is no longer God-given and moral, it is significant by itself
    • “Being true to myself means being true to my own originality, which is something only I can articulate and discover. In articulating it, I am also defining myself. I am realizing a potentiality that is properly my own. This is the background understanding to the modern ideal of authenticity” (31).

dialogical self definition

  • (Enlightenment Philosopher) Herder says that our ‘way of being’ is inwardly generated—in other words, monological
  • However, Taylor argues that this process is actually dialogical in nature
    • this is because we are dependent on language to self-define
    • People do not acquire the languages needed for self-definition on their own. Rather, we are introduced to them through interaction with others who matter to us—what George Herbert Mead called “significant others” (32).
    • We “define our identity always in dialogue with, sometimes in struggle against, the things our significant others want to see in us. Even after we outgrow some of these others—our parents, for instance—and they disappear from our lives, the conversation with them continues within us as long as we live” (33).
  • In this sense “the development of an ideal of inwardly generated identity gives a new importance to recognition. My own identity crucially depends on my dialogical relations with others” (34).
  • Recognition has become so important that “Its refusal can inflict damage on those who are denied it, … The projection of an inferior or demeaning image on another can actually distort and oppress, to the extent that the image is internalized” (36).

politics of universalism vs. politics of difference—the two forms of liberalism

  1. “With the move from honor to dignity has come a politics of universalism, emphasizing the equal dignity of all citizens, and the content of this politics has been the equalization of rights and entitlements” (37).
  2. “the development of the modern notion of identity, has given rise to a politics of difference. With the politics of equal dignity, what is established is meant to be universally the same, an identical basket of rights and immunities; with the politics of difference, what we are asked to recognize is the unique identity of this individual or group, their distinctness from everyone else. The idea is that it is precisely this distinctness that has been ignored, glossed over, assimilated to a dominant or majority identity. And this assimilation is the cardinal sin against the ideal of authenticity” (38).
  3. “The claim is that the supposedly neutral set of difference-blind principles of the politics of equal dignity is in fact a reflection of one hegemonic culture. As it turns out, then, only the minority or suppressed cultures are being forced to take alien form. Consequently, the supposedly fair and difference-blind society is not only inhuman (because suppressing identities) but also, in a subtle and unconscious way, itself highly discriminatory” (43).

Multiculturalism

  1. “all societies are becoming increasingly multicultural, while at the same time becoming more porous. Indeed, these two developments go together. Their porousness means that they are more open to multi-national migration; more of their members live the life of diaspora, whose center is elsewhere. In these circumstances, there is something awkward about replying simply, “This is how we do things here …
    • “The awkwardness arises from the fact that there are substantial numbers of people who are citizens and also belong to the culture that calls into question our philosophical boundaries. The challenge is to deal with their sense of marginalization without compromising our basic political principles” (63).
  2. There is now an explicit demand for recognition, including a change in the way we are taught the history of culture.
    • This is “essential not so much in the name of a broader culture for everyone as in order to give due recognition to the hitherto excluded. The background premise of these demands is that recognition forges identity, particularly in its Fanonist application: dominant groups tend to entrench their hegemony by inculcating an image of inferiority in the subjugated” (66).
  3. “As a presumption, the claim is that all human cultures that have animated whole societies over some considerable stretch of time have something important to say to all human beings … when I call this claim a “presumption,” I mean that it is a starting hypothesis with which we ought to approach the study of any other culture” (66-67).
    • [How is this not just straight up Boas?]
  4. According to Taylor—”What has to happen is what Gadamer has called a “fusion of horizons.” We learn to move in a broader horizon, within which what we have formerly taken for granted as the background to valuation can be situated as one possibility alongside the different background of the formerly unfamiliar culture. The “fusion of horizons” operates through our developing new vocabularies of comparison, by means of which we can articulate these contrasts. So that if and when we ultimately find substantive support for our initial presumption, it is on the basis of an understanding of what constitutes worth that we couldn’t possibly have had at the beginning. We have reached the judgment partly through transforming our standards” (67).

Finally—

“There must be something midway between the inauthentic and homogenizing demand for recognition of equal worth, on the one hand, and the self-immurement within ethnocentric standards, on the other. There are other cultures, and we have to live together more and more, both on a world scale and commingled in each individual society.

What there is is the presumption of equal worth I described above: a stance we take in embarking on the study of the other. Perhaps we don’t need to ask whether it’s something that others can demand from us as a right. We might simply ask whether this is the way we ought to approach others” (72).

and—

“what the presumption requires of us is not peremptory and inauthentic judgments of equal value, but a willingness to be open to comparative cultural study of the kind that must displace our horizons in the resulting fusions. What it requires above all is an admission that we are very far away from that ultimate horizon from which the relative worth of different cultures might be evident. This would mean breaking with an illusion that still holds many “multiculturalists”—as well as their most bitter opponents—in its grip” (73).

Annotation Summary for: Taylor – Politics of Recognition

Page 1, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “The Politics of Recognition CHARLES TAYLOR”

Page 1, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “I”

Page 1, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “A NUMBER of strands in contemporary politics turn onthe need, sometimes the demand, for recognition. The need,it can be argued, is one of the driving forces behind national-ist movements in politics. And the demand comes to the forein a number of ways in today’s politics, on behalf of minorityor “subaltern” groups, in some forms of feminism and inwhat is today called the politics of “multiculturalism.” ”

Page 1, Highlight (Yellow): Content: “recognition.”

Page 1, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “The demand for recognition in these latter cases is given urgency by the supposed links between recognition and identity, where this latter term designates something like a person’s understanding of who they are, of their fundamen- tal defining characteristics as a human being. The thesis is that our identity is partly shaped by recognition or its ab- sence, often by the misrecognition of others, and so a person or group of people can suffer real damage, real distortion, if the people or society around themmirror back to thema con- fining or demeaning or contemptible picture of themselves. Nonrecognition or misrecognition can inflict harm, can be a form of oppression, imprisoning someone in a false, dis- torted, and reduced mode of being.”

Page 1, Highlight (Yellow): Content: “identity,”

Page 1, Stamp (Star (Frame, Red))

Page 2, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Their own self-depreciation, on this view, becomes one of the most potent instruments of their own oppression. Their first task ought to be to purge them- selves of this imposed and destructive identity.”

Page 2, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Within these perspectives, misrecognition shows not just a lack of due respect. It can inflict a grievous wound, sad- dling its victims with a crippling self-hatred. Due recognition is not just a courtesy we owe people. It is a vital human need.”

Page 2, Stamp (Star (Frame, Red))

Page 2, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “We can distinguish two changes that together have made the modern preoccupation with identity and recognition in- evitable. The first is the collapse of social hierarchies, which”

Page 3, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “used to be the basis for honor. For some to have honor in this sense, it is essential that not everyone have it.”

Page 3, Highlight (Yellow): Content: “honor.”

Page 3, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “As against this notion of honor, we have the modern no- tion of dignity, now used in a universalist and egalitarian sense, where we talk of the inherent “dignity of human be- ings,” or of citizen dignity. The underlying premise here is that everyone shares in it.2”

Page 3, Highlight (Yellow): Content: “dignity,”

Page 3, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Democracy has ushered in a politics of equal recognition, which has taken various forms over the years, and has now returned in the form of demands for the equal status of cultures and of genders.”

Page 4, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “But the importance of recognition has been modified and intensified by the new understanding of individual identity that emerges at the end of the eighteenth century. We might speak of an individualized identity, one that is particular to me, and that I discover in myself. I will speak of this as the ideal of “authentic- ity.”3”

Page 4, Highlight (Yellow): Content: ““authentic- ity.”3”

Page 4, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “One way of describing its development is to see its starting point in the eighteenth-century notion that human beings are endowed with a moral sense, an intuitive feeling for what is right and wrong.”

Page 4, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “The notion of authenticity develops out of a displacement of the moral accent in this idea. What I’m call- ing the displacement of the moral accent comes about when being in touch with our feelings takes on independent and crucial moral significance. It comes to be something we have to attain if we are to be true and full human beings.”

Page 5, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “This fact is part of the massive subjective turn of modern culture, a new form of in- wardness, in which we come to think of ourselves as beings with inner depths.”

Page 5, Underline (Magenta): Content: “At first, this idea that the source is within doesn’t exclude our being related to God or the Ideas; it can be considered our proper way of relating to them. In a sense, it can be seen as just a continuation and intensification of the development inaugurated by Saint Augustine, who saw the road to God as passing through our own self-awareness.”

Page 5, Underline (Red): Content: “Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Les Rêveries du promeneur solitaire, “Cinquième Promenade,” in Oeuvres complètes (Paris: Gallimard, 1959), 1:1047.”

Page 6, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Herder put forward the idea that each of us has an original way of being human: each person has his or her own “measure.”6 This idea has bur- rowed very deep into modern consciousness.”

Page 6, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “I am called upon to live my life in this way, and not in imitation of anyone else’s life. But this notion gives a new importance to being true to myself. If I am not, I miss the point of my life; I miss what being human is for me.”

Page 7, Stamp (Star (Frame, Red))

Page 7, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Being true to myself means being true to my own original- ity, which is something only I can articulate and discover. In articulating it, I am also defining myself.”

Page 7, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “I am realizing a po- tentiality that is properly my own. This is the background understanding to the modern ideal of authenticity,”

Page 7, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “In those earlier societies, what we would now call identity was largely fixed by one’s social position. The birth of a democratic society doesn’t by itselfdo away with this phenomenon, because people can still de-fine themselves by their social roles. What does decisivelyundermine this socially derived identification, however, isthe ideal of authenticity itself. As this emerges, for instance,”

Page 7, Underline (Red): Content: “John Stuart Mill, Three Essays (Oxford: Ox- ford University Press, 1975), pp. 73, 74, 83.”

Page 8, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “with Herder, it calls on me to discover my own original way of being. By definition, this way of being cannot be socially derived, but must be inwardly generated.”

Page 8, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “But in the nature of the case, there is no such thing as in- ward generation, monologically understood.”

Page 8, Highlight (Yellow): Content: “monologically dia- logical”

Page 8, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “This crucial feature of human life is its fundamentally dia- logical character. We become full human agents, capable of understanding ourselves, and hence of defining our iden- tity, through our acquisition of rich human languages of ex- pression. For my purposes here, I want to take language in a broad sense, covering not only the words we speak, but also other modes of expression whereby we define ourselves, in- cluding the “languages” of art, of gesture, of love, and the like. But we learn these modes of expression through ex- changes with others. People do not acquire the languages needed for self-definition on their own. Rather, we are intro- duced to themthrough interaction with others who matter to us—what George Herbert Mead called “significant others.”8”

Page 8, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “We”

Page 8, Underline (Red): Content: “George Herbert Mead, Mind, Self, and Society (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1934).”

Page 9, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “define our identity always in dialogue with, sometimes in struggle against, the things our significant others want to see in us. Even after we outgrow some of these others—our par- ents, for instance—and they disappear from our lives, the conversation with them continues within us as long as we live.9”

Page 10, Stamp (Star (Frame, Red))

Page 10, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “the development of an ideal of inwardly generated identity gives a new importance to recognition. My own identity cru- cially depends on my dialogical relations with others.”

Page 10, Underline (Red): Content: ” Bakhtin, “The Problem of the Text in Linguistics, Philology andthe Human Sciences,” in Speech Genres and Other Late Essays, ed. CarylEmerson and Michael Holquist (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1986),”

Page 12, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “The importance of recognition is nowuniversally acknowl- edged in one form or another; on an intimate plane, we are all aware of how identity can be formed or malformed through the course of our contact with significant others. On the social plane, we have a continuing politics of equal recog- nition. On the intimate level, we can see how much an original identity needs and is vulnerable to the recognition given or withheld by significant others.”

Page 12, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “They arealso crucial because they are the crucibles of inwardly gener-ated identity. On the social plane, the understanding that identities areformed in open dialogue, unshaped by a predefined socialscript, has made the politics of equal recognition more cen-tral and stressful.”

Page 12, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Equal recognition is not just the appropriate mode for a healthy democratic society. Its refusal can inflict damage on those who are denied it, according to a widespread mod- ern view, as I indicated at the outset. The projection of an inferior or demeaning image on another can actually distort and oppress, to the extent that the image is internalized.”

Page 12, Stamp (Star (Frame, Red))

Page 12, Underline (Red): Content: “13 See Hegel, The Phenomenology of Spirit, trans. A. V. Miller (Oxford: Ox- ford University Press, 1977), chap. 4.”

Page 13, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “it is clear that the understanding of identity and authenticity has introduced a new dimension into the poli- tics of equal recognition, which now operates with some- thing like its own notion of authenticity, at least so far as the denunciation of other-induced distortions is concerned. II”

Page 13, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “And so the discourse of recognition has become familiar to us, on two levels: First, in the intimate sphere, where we un- derstand the formation of identity and the self as taking place in a continuing dialogue and struggle with significant others. And then in the public sphere, where a politics of equal recognition has come to play a bigger and bigger role.”

Page 13, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “I want to concentrate here on the public sphere, and try towork out what a politics of equal recognition has meant andcould mean. In fact, it has come to mean two rather different things,connected, respectively, with the two major changes I havebeen describing. With the move from honor to dignity hascome a politics of universalism, emphasizing the equal dig-nity of all citizens, and the content of this politics has beenthe equalization of rights and entitlements.”

Page 13, Stamp (Star (Frame, Red))

Page 14, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “the second change, the development of the modern notion of identity, has given rise to a politics of dif- ference. With the politics of equal dignity, what is established is meant to be univer- sally the same, an identical basket of rights and immunities; with the politics of difference, what we are asked to recog- nize is the unique identity of this individual or group, their distinctness from everyone else. The idea is that it is pre- cisely this distinctness that has been ignored, glossed over, assimilated to a dominant or majority identity. And this as- similation is the cardinal sin against the ideal of authenticity.15”

Page 15, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “the politics of difference often rede- fines nondiscrimination as requiring that we make these dis- tinctions the basis of differential treatment.”

Page 16, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “To proponents of the original politics of dignity, this canseem like a reversal, a betrayal, a simple negation of theircherished principle. Attempts are therefore made to medi-ate, to show how some of these measures meant to accom-modate minorities can after all be justified on the originalbasis of dignity. These arguments can be successful up to apoint. For instance, some of the (apparently) most flagrantdepartures from “difference-blindness” are reverse dis-crimination measures, affording people from previously un-favored groups a competitive advantage for jobs or places inuniversities.”

Page 17, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “what is picked out as of worth here is a universal human potential, a capacity that all humans share. This poten- tial, rather than anything a person may have made of it, is what ensures that each person deserves respect. Indeed, our sense of the importance of potentiality reaches so far that we”

Page 17, Highlight (Yellow): Content: “universal human potential,”

Page 17, Underline (Red): Content: “Kant, Grundlegung der Metaphysik der Sitten (Berlin: Gruyter, 1968; reprint of the Berlin Academy edition), p. 434.”

Page 18, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “extend this protection even to people who through some cir- cumstance that has befallen them are incapable of realizing their potential in the normal way—handicapped people, or those in a coma, for instance.”

Page 19, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “These two modes of politics, both based on the no- tion of equal respect, come into conflict. For one, the princi- ple of equal respect requires that we treat people in a differ- ence-blind fashion. The fundamental intuition that humans command this respect focuses on what is the same in all. For the other, we have to recognize and even foster particularity. The reproach the first makes to the second is just that it vio- lates the principle of nondiscrimination. The reproach the second makes to the first is that it negates identity by forcing people into a homogeneous mold that is untrue to them. This would be bad enough if the mold were itself neutral—”

Page 19, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “The claim is that the supposedly neutral set of difference-blind principles of the politics of equal dignity is in fact a reflection of one hegemonic culture. As it turns out, then, only the minority or suppressed cultures are being forced to take alien form. Consequently, the supposedly fair and difference-blind society is not only inhuman (because suppressing identities) but also, in a subtle and unconscious way, itself highly discriminatory.19”

Page 19, Stamp (Star (Frame, Red))

Page 20, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “The charge leveled by the most radical forms of the politics of difference is that “blind” liberalisms are themselves the re- flection of particular cultures.”

Page 20, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “III”

Page 20, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “The politics of equal dignity has emerged in Western civiliza- tion in two ways, which we could associate with the names of two standard-bearers, Rousseau and Kant.”

Page 20, Underline (Red): Content: “Jürgen Habermas, Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1981).”

Page 21, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Rousseau, as is well known, tends to oppose a condition of freedom-in-equality to one characterized by hi- erarchy and other-dependence. In this state, one is depen- dent on others not just because they wield political power, or because one needs them for survival or success in one’s cher- ished projects, but above all because one craves their esteem.”

Page 24, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Rousseau’s underlying, unstated argument would seem tobe this: A perfectly balanced reciprocity takes the sting out ofour dependence on opinion, and makes it compatible withliberty. Complete reciprocity, along with the unity of pur-pose that it makes possible, ensures that in following opin-ion I am not in any way pulled outside myself. I am still“obeying myself” as a member of this common project or“general will.” ”

Page 25, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Rousseau is at the origin of a new discourse about honor and dignity. To the two traditional ways of thinking about honor and pride he adds a third, which is quite differ- ent. There was a discourse denouncing pride, as I mentioned above, which called on us to remove ourselves from this whole dimension of human life and to be utterly uncon- cerned with esteem. And then there was an ethic of honor, frankly nonuniversalist and inegalitarian, which saw the concern with honor as the first mark of the honorable man. Someone unconcerned with reputation, unwilling to defend it, had to be a coward, and therefore contemptible. Rousseau borrows the denunciatory language of the first discourse, but he doesn’t end up calling for a renunciation of all concern with esteem.”

Page 25, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “The remedy is not rejecting the importance of esteem, but entering into a quite different system, characterized by equality, reciprocity, and unity of purpose. This unity makes possible the equality of esteem, but the fact that esteem is in principle equal in this system is essential to this unity of purpose itself. Under the aegis of the general will, all virtuous citizens are to be equally honored. The age of dignity is born.”

Page 26, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “This new critique of pride, leading not to solitary mortifi- cation but to a politics of equal dignity, is what Hegel took up and made famous in his dialectic of the master and the slave. Against the old discourse on the evil of pride, he takes it as fundamental that we can flourish only to the extent that we are recognized.”

Page 27, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “In Rousseau, three things seem to be inseparable: freedom (nondomination), the absence of differentiated roles, and a very tight common purpose. We must all be dependent on the general will, lest there arise bilateral forms of depen- dence.28 This has been the formula for the most terrible forms of homogenizing tyranny,”

Page 27, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “IV”

Page 28, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “The issue, is whether this restrictive view of equal rights is the only possible interpretation. If it is, then it would seem that the accusation of homogenization is well founded. But perhaps it is not. I think it is not,”

Page 32, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Those who take the view that individual rights must al- ways come first, and, along with nondiscrimination provi- sions, must take precedence over collective goals, are often speaking from a liberal perspective that has become more and more widespread in the Anglo-American world.”

Page 32, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “the one that encapsulates most clearly the point that is rele- vant to us is the one expressed by Dworkin in his short paper entitled “Liberalism.”32 Dworkin makes a distinction between two kinds of moral commitment. We all have views about the ends of life, about what constitutes a good life, which we and others ought to strive for. But we also acknowledge a commitment to deal fairly and equally with each other, regardless of howwe con- ceive our ends. We might call this latter commitment “proce- dural,” while commitments concerning the ends of life are “substantive.” Dworkin claims that a liberal society is one that as a society adopts no particular substantive view about the ends of life. The society is, rather, united around a strong procedural commitment to treat people with equal respect.”

Page 32, Highlight (Yellow): Content: ““proce- dural,””

Page 32, Highlight (Yellow): Content: ““substantive.””

Page 33, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “The popularity of this view of the human agent as primar- ily a subject of self-determining or self-expressive choice helps to explain why this model of liberalism is so strong.”

Page 37, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “more and more societies today are turning out to be multicultural, in the sense of including more than one cultural community that wants to survive. The rigidities of procedural liberalism may rapidly become impractical in tomorrow’s world. V”

Page 38, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “the claim sometimes made on behalf of “difference-blind” liberalism that it can offer a neutral ground on which people of all cul- tures can meet and coexist. On this view, it is necessary to make a certain number of distinctions—between what is public and what is private, for instance, or between politics and religion—and only then can one relegate the contentious differences to a sphere that does not impinge on the political.”

Page 38, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “liberalism can’t and shouldn’t claimcomplete cultural neutrality. Liberalism is also a fightingcreed. The hospitable variant I espouse, as well as the mostrigid forms, has to draw the line. T”

Page 39, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “all societies are becoming increasingly multicultural, while at the same time becoming more porous. Indeed, these two developments go together. Their porousness means that they are more open to multi- national migration; more of their members live the life of di- aspora, whose center is elsewhere. In these circumstances, there is something awkward about replying simply, “This is how we do things here.” The awkwardness arises from the fact that there are substantial numbers of people who are citizens and also be- long to the culture that calls into question our philosophical boundaries. The challenge is to deal with their sense of marginalization without compromising our basic political principles.”

Page 40, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “But the further demand we are looking at here is that we all recognize the equal value of different cultures; that we not only let them survive, but acknowledge their worth.”

Page 40, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “What is new, is that the demand for recognitionis now explicit. And it has been made explicit, in the way Iindicated above, by the spread of the idea that we are formedby recognition. We could say that, thanks to this idea, mis-recognition has nowgraduated to the rank of a harm”

Page 41, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “One of the key authors in this transition is undoubtedly the late Frantz Fanon, whose influential Les Damnés de la Terre (The Wretched of the Earth)37 argued that the major weapon of the colonizers was the imposition of their image of the colonized on the subjugated people.”

Page 41, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “The idea has become crucial to certain strands of feminism, and is also a very important element in the contemporary debate about multiculturalism. One important focus is university humanities departments, where demands are made to alter, enlarge, or scrap the “canon” of accredited authors on the grounds that the one presently favored consists almost entirely of “dead white males.” The reason for these proposed changes is not, or not mainly, that all students may be missing something impor- tant through the exclusion of a certain gender or certain races or cultures, but rather that women and students from the ex- cluded groups are given, either directly or by omission, a de- meaning picture of themselves, as though all creativity and worth inhered in males of European provenance. Enlarging and changing the curriculum is therefore essential not so much in the name of a broader culture for everyone as in”

Page 42, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “order to give due recognition to the hitherto excluded. The background premise of these demands is that recognition forges identity, particularly in its Fanonist application: domi- nant groups tend to entrench their hegemony by inculcating an image of inferiority in the subjugated.”

Page 42, Stamp (Star (Frame, Red))

Page 42, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Although it is not often stated clearly, the logic behind some of these demands seems to depend upon a premise that we owe equal respect to all cultures.”

Page 42, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “As a presumption, the claim is that all human cultures thathave animated whole societies over some considerablestretch of time have something important to say to all humanbeings.”

Page 42, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “when I call this claim a “presumption,” I mean that it is a starting hypothesis with which we ought to approach the”

Page 43, Note (Orange): How is this not just straight up Boas?

Page 43, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “study of any other culture.”

Page 43, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “What has to happen is what Gadamer has called a “fusion of horizons.”38 We learn to move in a broader horizon, within which what we have formerly taken for granted as the back- ground to valuation can be situated as one possibility along- side the different background of the formerly unfamiliar culture. The “fusion of horizons” operates through our de- veloping new vocabularies of comparison, by means of which we can articulate these contrasts.39 So that if and when we ultimately find substantive support for our initial presumption, it is on the basis of an understanding of what constitutes worth that we couldn’t possibly have had at the beginning. We have reached the judgment partly through transforming our standards.”

Page 43, Stamp (Star (Frame, Red))

Page 45, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “On examination, ei- ther we will find something of great value in culture C, or we will not. But it makes no more sense to demand that we do so than it does to demand that we find the earth round or flat, the temperature of the air hot or cold.”

Page 45, Stamp (Question Mark (?, Red))

Page 45, Underline (Blue): Content: “find something of great value”

Page 45, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “there is a vigorous controversy over the “objectivity” of judg- ments in this field, and whether there is a “truth of the mat- ter” here, as there seems to be in natural science, or indeed, whether even in natural science “objectivity” is a mirage.”

Page 45, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “I don’t have much sympathy for these forms of subjectivism, which I think are shot through with confusion.”

Page 45, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “the act of declaring another culture’s crea- tions to be of worth and the act of declaring oneself on their side, even if their creations aren’t all that impressive, become indistinguishable. The difference is only in the packaging. Yet the first is normally understood as a genuine expression”

Page 46, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “of respect, the second often as unsufferable patronizing.”

Page 46, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “In fact, subjectivist, half-baked neo-Nietzschean theories are quite often invoked in this debate. Deriving frequently from Foucault or Derrida, they claim that all judgments of worth are based on standards that are ultimately imposed by and further entrench structures of power.”

Page 46, Underline (Red): Content: “Foucault Derrida,”

Page 46, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “A favorable judgment on demand is nonsense,”

Page 46, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “the giving of such a judgment on demand is an act of breathtaking condescension. No one can really mean it as a genuine act of respect. It is more in the nature of a pre- tend act of respect given on the insistence of its supposed beneficiary. Objectively, such an act involves contempt for the latter’s intelligence.”

Page 46, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “The proponents of neo-Nietzschean theories hope to escape this whole nexus of hypocrisy by turning the entire issue into one of power and counterpower. Then the question is no more one of respect, but of taking sides, of solidarity.”

Page 47, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “In this form, the demand for equal recognition is unaccept- able.”

Page 47, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “A response like that attributed to Bellow which I quoted above, to the effect that we will be glad to read the Zulu Tolstoy when he comes along, shows the depths of ethnocentricity. First, there is the implicit assumption that excellence has to take forms familiar to us: the Zulus should produce a Tolstoy. Second, we are assuming that their contribution is yet to be made (when the Zulus produce a Tolstoy . . . ). These two assumptions obvi-”

Page 48, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “ously go hand in hand. If they have to produce our kind ofexcellence, then obviously their only hope lies in the future.”

Page 48, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “There must be something midway between the inauthen- tic and homogenizing demand for recognition of equal worth, on the one hand, and the self-immurement within ethnocentric standards, on the other. There are other cul- tures, and we have to live together more and more, both on a world scale and commingled in each individual society. What there is is the presumption of equal worth I de- scribed above: a stance we take in embarking on the study of the other. Perhaps we don’t need to ask whether it’s some- thing that others can demand from us as a right. We might simply ask whether this is the way we ought to approach others.”

Page 48, Stamp (Star (Frame, Red))

Page 49, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Perhaps one could put it another way: it would take a supreme arrogance to discount this possibility a priori.”

Page 49, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “We only need a sense of our own limited part in the whole human story to accept the presumption. It is only arrogance, or some analo- gous moral failing, that can deprive us of this. But what the presumption requires of us is not peremptory and inauthen- tic judgments of equal value, but a willingness to be open to comparative cultural study of the kind that must displace our horizons in the resulting fusions. What it requires above all is an admission that we are very far away from that ultimate horizon from which the relative worth of different cultures might be evident. This would mean breaking with an illusion that still holds many “multiculturalists”—as well as their most bitter opponents—in its grip.43”

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