The marriage of time and identity: Kant, Benjamin and the nation-state

Philosophy and Social Criticism 25 (3):57-80 (1999)
The paper explores the role played by concepts of temporality in shaping the self's identity and its moral responsibility. This theme is examined in both Kant and Benjamin, two theorists who view the modern self as an essentially historical being. For Kant, teleological and uniform time shoulders the heightening of the self's universal attributes and the constant expansion of a moral community. The desired end is the establishment of an integrated and homogeneous human space, a cosmopolitan stage wherein history is finally redeemed. This progressive notion of time is seen as dangerous by Benjamin, since it generates forgetfulness and inner impoverishment of the self. Instead, Benjamin advances a fragmented conception of time, one allowing conversation between distant moments and grounding identity in concrete images. While the poetic recovery of memory leads to the distinct and exclusive, Benjamin follows Kant in demanding universal moral responsibility of the self. However, Benjamin's strategy, so to speak, is the integration of our temporal - not spatial - experience. Key Words: Benjamin • history • Kant • nation-state • space • time.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1177/019145379902500303
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 23,209
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

26 ( #182,983 of 1,940,986 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #457,978 of 1,940,986 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.