Document Type : Original Research Paper


Assistant Professor of Philosophy of Education, Faculty Member of Institute for Social and Cultural Studies, Tehran, Iran


Is identity a heritage inherited from the past or a choice for the future? In this question, the concept of ‘time’ is presupposed. Thus, my point of departure is analyzing the concept of time. Then the relation between the concept of time and social theory will be examined to maintain that ‘sociology’ is the science of ‘space’ rather than the science of ‘time. ‘History’, however, is the science of ‘time’ which, in its Hegelian version, has a strong connection with the paradigm of the ‘philosophy of consciousnesses’. This paradigm would not allow sociology to be established, because sociology is the theory of action rather than the theory of consciousness. For this very reason, the establishment of sociology in the late nineteenth century was contemporaneous with the crisis of the philosophy of consciousness. The focal point of this crisis was the concept of ‘subject’, which itself was both the base of modern philosophy and the focus of modern society. But Marx, Nietzsche, Freud and Romanticist Movement radically criticized the concept of ‘subject’ and thus brought about crisis for modern society. The establishment of sociology was a response to such a crisis. It was a turning point by which we became aware of the heaviness and harmfulness of ‘tempocentrism’ and instead point to the usefulness of ‘topocentrism’. After this theoretical discussion, some problems of tempocentristic approach to ‘identity’ in Iranian social science will be referred to show how this approach is laden with the past, and therefore, unable to regard the future. The Iranian social science’s inability to develop an ‘action theory’ seems to be rooted in its tempocentrism. In order to find a way out of this dead-end and open some new horizons in the sphere of theory and practice, the Iranian sociology need to throw down the approach to identity ‘as a heritage from the past’ and adopt it ‘as a choice for the future’. Finally, I will discuss ‘rational identity’ and its relation to social science.


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