Identity as the Difference of Power and the Differing from Being


From where does the frequently explored connection between identity, difference and power stem? One thinker influencing contemporary discussions on this theme is Judith Butler. To her, the primary difference constituting identity is the difference between the subject and the historical power constructing it. Although they belong together, power can still be said to subjugate the subject. However, within this system, the origin of power cannot be accounted for. I will therefore attempt to examine this origin on the basis of Martin Heidegger's The History of Being (Die Geschichte des Seyns (hereafter GS), written 1938-1940). According to him, power is something intrinsically dependent on subject metaphysics. The latter stems from what he calls the oblivion of being, which can also be expressed as the forgetting of the difference between beings and being. The abiding in this difference opens the way into that which Heidegger calls enowning (Ereignis), in which the human being can reach identity in a qualified respect, as a nearness to his own being. Only on this way can the regime of power, permeating identity construction, be overcome.

Keywords: Heidegger, Butler, identity, difference, ontological difference, power, enowning, being-historical

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