Recognition and the Human Life-Form: Beyond Identity and Difference

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2022.09.08 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews

Heikki Ikäheimo, Recognition and the Human Life-Form: Beyond Identity and Difference, Routledge, 2022, 249pp., $160.00 (hbk), ISBN 978032139999.

Reviewed by J.M. Bernstein, New School for Social Research

A fair summation of Heikki Ikäheimo’s compelling, wide-ranging, and analytically acute study would be to say that it is a massive commentary on Hegel’s brief, four page fragment on “Love” (1797 or 1798)—despite the fact that Ikäheimo nowhere references this text of Hegel’s. In that fragment, Hegel employs the model of romantic love in order to launch a wide-ranging critique of the philosophical anthropology, social ontology, and ethics of Kantian moral individualism. While one element of the critique is Hegel’s contention that we are essentially living beings inhabiting an organically vital living world rather than pure rational minds inhabiting a world of (Newtonian) dead matter, the deeper critique turns on the thesis that in love, the lovers are no longer wholly separate selves,…

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