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Context: This happens in the main character's dream. He sees some weird person and he can't clearly see their face (so he doesn't even know if they're a man or a woman). The person gives him a magical box that can grant wishes. After they hold out the box:

そして確か僕は、「どうして僕にこんなものを?」なんてつまらない質問をした。

「君が実におもしろいからだよ。私は個性のない君たちの些細な相異を区別できない。その人をその人と認識できない。

A couple of things. First, こんなもの here is the magical box. Then there is my attempt at translation of this paragraph:

And then, of course, what a boring question I asked!

"Such a thing? To me? Why?.."

"Because you're quite amusing. I can't tell apart the slight differences in your kind's colorless personalities.

However, I can't seem to bind the sentence in bold to the context and the previous text here. If translated literally, I would do this as "Can't recognize/realize such people from such people". I'm almost sure the "person" is talking about the whole mankind (because there's no others who could fit into 君たち near the main character). Then if they're indeed talking about the entire human race, who are その人 (such people)? And the question that bugs me the most is: how does 認識できない fit here? 認識 is literally "recognition/realization/knowledge", and I don't have a slightest clue about how you can "recognize/realize その人 from その人". So any help would be greatly appreciated.

Also, I would like to ask if I understand the "と" particle correctly and it indeed means "...such people from such people". Because if it means and as it usually does in such a case, then I don't have a slightest clue how to interpret it, either.

Thanks.

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「どうして僕にこんなものを?」

I think this is a short form of "どうして僕にこんなものをくれるのWhy will you give me a thing like this? or Why will you give me a box like this?" judging from the given context.

その人をその人と認識できない。

I'll give you similar sentences as follows in order that you could understand the above given sentence for yourself.

(1) 私は、その人をArchAlessusと認識できる I can recognize that person as ArchAlessus.
(2) 私は、その人を先生と認識できる I can recognize that person as a teacher.
(3) 私は、その人を他の人と区別して認識できる I can recognize that person by distinguishing it from other people.
(4) 私は、その人をその人と認識できる I can recognize that person as that person.

EDIT

(1) 私は、その人をArchAlessus認識できる I can recognize that person as ArchAlessus.
I don't think I've ever seen "と" translated as "as" before.

We usually say like "私は、その人をArchAlessus認識できる" for "I can recognize that person as ArchAlessus", and we can understand the meaning very well, but it's better to say formally as "私は、その人をArchAlessusとして認識できる".

Then the questioner may understand "と" as "as" perfectly.

  • Yes, I understand that in the first part in bold, the verb is omitted, thank you for explaining. I thought that the verb should have been some form of "to give". I understand the pattern now, thanks. Sorry for such a question, is "と" widely used in the meaning of "as"? I know the main meanings, "and" and "if/when". I don't think I've ever seen "と" translated as "as" before. Thanks for your explanation! Perfectly clear. I'll accept it now. – ArchAlessus Sep 5 '17 at 11:04
  • I saw the edit to your answer, thank you for laying it out so perfectly! It all makes perfect sense now! – ArchAlessus Sep 5 '17 at 11:21
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I cannot recognize その人 as その人.

It essentially means that to him (the speaker?), all colorless people are all the same and he can not tell the difference between any of them. So it is impossible is identify an individual.

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