The Term “Identification” as Used in a Previous Post is a Contranym

July 4, 2020

The previous post referred to here is St. Paul and the Identification of Heterosexuals and Homosexuals.

The term “Identification” as used in the title to this earlier post, may be an example of a “contranym”* for there are at least two meanings to the term and they are opposites, the first combining the two meanings of “Identification”  and the second separating and opposing the two.

* Contranym refers to words spelled or pronounced the same and having two or more meanings. See also Merriam-Webster.

The first sense of “identification” here is linking or associating two ideas such that there is only a single idea, which is what Paul and all people did (unconsciously) in his time with respect to sexual orientation, essentially linking homosexual and heterosexual such that there was no distinction.* All people, with respect to natural sexual attraction, would be the same, i.e. towards the opposite sex, and where any deviation from this would have been unnatural and even rebellious.

* The example given in my dictionary: the traditional Russian identification of democracy with anarchy.

The second meaning of the same word (“Identification”) in the post is an action or process in identifying someone or something, which is what we do today regarding sexuality, finding that while most people find the opposite sex attractive (heterosexual), still a significant group finds the same sex attractive (homosexual) and with each group acting naturally with regard to the respective attraction of each.*

* Or as my dictionary has it: each child was tagged with a number for identification. This means to clearly distinguish one child from the other.

And so the first meaning of identification here is that there is no recognition of any straight or gay (the two being combined from the beginning and thought of as straight), and the second meaning is that there is a recognition of both straight and gay, each treated separately.

 

Note: See this short article on hetronyms.

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pmr@kantwesley.com

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