63 pages 2 hours read

Francis Fukuyama

The End of History and the Last Man

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 1992

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Part 3Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 3, “The Struggle for Recognition”

Chapter 13 Summary and Analysis: “In the Beginning, a Battle for the Death for Pure Prestige”

In the third part of this book, “The Struggle for Recognition,” Fukuyama tackles the question of identity from various perspectives. These perspectives span the history of Western thought for such thinkers as the ancient Greeks and early modern philosophers Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Hegel. The author suggests that identity is fundamental to the question of the universal history of humanity, its end, and liberal democracy as its endpoint within this framework. 

In this section, the author uses some evocative titles, such as “The Beast with Red Cheeks” (171). This concept comes from Friedrich Nietzsche who defined humanity thusly. In Nietzsche’s view, a human being has the ability to assign a value of good versus evil. This focus on values and the recognition of identity makes humans who they truly are. In subsequent sections, Fukuyama uses other Nietzschean terminology in his titles, such as the “last man.” These titles provide a running theme and add additional meaning to this book.

Fukuyama refers to identity as “recognition”: the desire to be recognized as one perceives oneself—and one’s value—by others. According to philosophers like Hegel, this desire is worth fighting and dying for.