would accordingly mean not only that every A is itself the same; but rather that every A is itself the same with itself. Sameness implies the relation of "with," that is, a mediation, a connection, a synthesis: the unification into a unity. This is why throughout the history of Western thought identity appears as unity. But that unity is by no means the stale emptiness of that which, in itself without relation, persists in monotony. However, to get to the point where the relationship of the same with itself-which prevails in that identity which was already implicitly present very early-emerges as this mediation in a decisive and characteristic way, and where an abode is found for this radiant emergence, of mediation within identity, Western thought required more than two thousand years. For it is only the philosophy of speculative Idealism, prepared by Leibniz and Kant, that through Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel established an abode for the essence, in itself synthetic, of identity. This abode cannot be demonstrated here. Just one thing we must keep in mind: since the era of speculative Idealism, it is no longer possible for thinking to represent the unity of identity as mere sameness, and to disregard the mediation that prevails in unity. Wherever this is done, identity is represented only in an abstract manner.

Even in the improved formula "A is A," abstract identity alone appears. Does it get that far? Does the principle of identity really


Identity and Difference (GA 11) by Martin Heidegger