Three kinds of recognition exist. Recognition of independence occurs when a new state is created, usually by a successful rebellion, and is accepted by members of the international community, either by a formal statement or by entering into diplomatic relations with the new state. Recognition of independence generally takes place after the new nation has demonstrated its ability to maintain itself; if a power recognizes an insurrectionary colony or dependency while the mother country is attempting to crush the rebellion, it is considered an offense to the dominant country that is being ousted. A second type of recognition may occur when a new form of government follows the establishment of a new political force in a country. A republic may be recognized as the successor of a monarchy, or a new president may be acknowledged after the overthrow of the previous incumbent. Recognition of belligerency, the third kind, was introduced into international law when that form of acknowledgment was given (1861) to the Confederate States of America by Great Britain. Such recognition grants the belligerents the rights and duties of a state as they concern war and commerce, but it does not grant the right to enter into official diplomatic relations with neutral nations. In recognizing belligerency, the nation offends the state against which the rebellion is directed. When recognition is de facto it involves a provisional acknowledgment that the government in power is exercising the function of sovereignty. Such recognition is revocable and implies a lesser degree of recognition than the formal recognition accorded de jure [Lat.,=as of right].
The withholding of diplomatic recognition may be used in an attempt to force changes of policy on a new government, as illustrated by the nonrecognition of the Huerta (1913) and Obregón (1920) governments in Mexico and of the Communist government in China (1949) by the United States. The United States normally follows a policy known as the Stimson Doctrine (established by Secretary of State Henry Stimson in 1931), which states that the United States does not recognize territorial changes brought about by breach of international obligation. For this reason the United States did not recognize the Japanese-supported government in Manchukuo (1932) or the Italian government in Ethiopia (1936). This principle is implied in the Charter of the United Nations.
See H. Lauterpacht, Recognition in International Law (1947); T. C. Chen, The International Law of Recognition (1951); B. Bot, Nonrecognition and Treaty Relations (1968).
When the recognizer has correctly responded, this is a measure of understanding. For example, when some animals have never seen a human being before, they do not hide and they show no fear; but when they learn that a human being may be a threat, they may emit distress cries, flee or hide.
Even non-mammals can recognize when a situation signals danger, and will flee or hide. Baby spiders will flee when a mother spider sends a sharp pulse along the spider web. A male spider will gently poke a female spider's web to assess whether it is without being killed himself.
In philosophy, recognition became very important in Hegel's attempt at understanding the emergence of self-consciousness. Lack of recognition can also be attributed as alienation and it was this aspect of Hegel's work that Marx elaborated upon. The importance of recognition for Hegel is seen in his myth of the master-slave dialectic.
Recognition, in molecular biology and immunology, refers to the process for an enzyme or antibody to find its target, a specific short nucleotide or protein sequence. The sequence therefore is called recognition sequence or recognition site in DNA, or epitope in protein.